Consultant Sentenced for Conspiring to Steal KU Sports Tickets
WICHITA, KAN. – A former consultant to the ticket office at the University of Kansas has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for conspiring to steal tickets to sporting events, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today. The judge also ordered restitution of $841,111 to the University of Kansas and $268,292 to the Internal Revenue Service.
Thomas Ray Blubaugh, 47, Medford, Okla., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. In his plea, he admitted he and co-defendants were responsible for diverting $2 million worth of tickets to KU athletic events.
Blubaugh’s wife, Charlette Faye Blubaugh, was an Associate Athletic Director in charge of the ticket office at KU when the crime occurred. Thomas Blubaugh was on the ticket office’s payroll from August 2007 to January 2010 as a consultant, for which he was paid a total of $115,000. Beginning in 2005, Charlette Blubaugh stole individual and season tickets for university athletic events and provided them to co-defendants to sell to third parties in violation of university policies. The tickets were moved in interstate commerce and marketed through individuals and ticket brokers. The tickets were advertised for sale on the Internet and sold in ways meant to hide the fact the tickets were coming from employees of the ticket office.
Thomas Blubaugh attempted to conceal the thefts by using third parties not connected to the ticket office to sell tickets to individuals. He paid travel expenses for an intermediary who marketed tickets through brokers in Oklahoma. He also concealed on annual tax returns the income he received from the ticket sales.
Charlotte Blubaugh, 44, Medford, Okla., who is set for sentencing April 14 after pleading guilty to conspiracy.
Ben Kirtland, 54, Lenexa, Kan., who is set for sentencing May 12 after pleading guilty to conspiracy.
Rodney Dale Jones, 42, Lawrence, Kan., who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison.
Kassie Liebsch, 28, Lawrence, Kan., who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to 37 months.
Brandon Simmons, 31, Lenexa, Kan., who pleaded guilty to a charge of concealing a felony and was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay restitution of $157,840.
Jason Jeffries, 36, Lawrence, Kan., who pleaded guilty to a charge of concealing a felony and was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay restitution of $56,000.
Grissom commended the Internal Revenue Service, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Hathaway and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney for their work on the case.