On Tuesday, a federal court in Chicago sentenced a ticket broker convicted of selling White Sox game tickets unlawfully to jail after rejecting his claim that by increasing attendance, he had actually helped the organization by increasing the number of concession-buying customers.
After a jury in October convicted Bruce Lee, 35, guilty of fraud, the court sentenced him to one year in federal prison during a hearing. An additional $74,650 in restitution to the White Sox, as well as Lee’s personal forfeiture of nearly $450,000 in illicit proceeds, was ordered by U.S. District Judge James Kennelly, according to the Chicago Tribune.
When Lee’s lawyer submitted his sentencing document, he argued that the court should grant him probation instead of a prison term. The defense maintained that the baseball club reaped the benefits of the arrangement at the concession stands and that the tickets themselves were of little worth.
Kennelly termed the idea that no one was hurt “delusional,” and he said it was vital to make the message to those who might wish to embark on a similar plot that getting discovered would cost them their liberty.
“The math needs to include the possibility that, if I get caught paying these people under the table, I’m going to lose my liberty,” Kennelly said. “Without that, it’s just dollars and cents.”
One of Lee’s workers, James Costello and William O’Neil, was arrested in 2020 and charged of participating in a complex conspiracy to sell thousands of unlawfully manufactured tickets to White Sox games, according to a press release from the Chicago Tribune.
Federal authorities alleged at the time that the three guys made close to $1 million from the swindle.
Costello, 67, and O’Neil, 52, both admitted their involvement in the fraud and were sentenced to prison terms. We’re still waiting for a verdict on their cooperation with the inquiry.