News and Press Releases

Former Assistant Athletic Director Sentenced to 46 Months For Conspiring to Steal KU Sports Tickets

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 31, 2011

WICHITA, KAN. – Rodney Dale Jones, 42, Lawrence, Kan., has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for conspiring to steal tickets to sporting events at the University of Kansas, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today. The judge also ordered almost $1.2 million in restitution to the University of Kansas and more than $113,800 restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

Jones pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. In his plea, he admitted that he and other employees of Kansas Athletics, Inc., made more than $2 million diverting tickets to KU athletic events and selling them to third parties.

Jones was an Assistant Athletic Director in charge of the Williams Education Fund, the fund-raising arm of KU Athletics. In his plea, he admitted that he and other conspirators diverted tickets from their intended purpose and sold them in violation of university policies. They attempted to conceal the crimes through various means, including using third parties not connected with the ticket officer to sell tickets, having checks written to third parties, purchasing money orders in amounts meant to avoid currency reporting requirements and concealing their illicit income from the NCAA.

In her plea, co-defendant Kassie Liebsch stated that while she worked as a systems analyst in the ticket office she provided Jones with tickets, even though she knew the tickets were being sold illegally, and she accepted cash kickbacks from Jones for providing him with tickets. She said she was acting at the direction of co-defendant Associate Athletic Director Charlette Blubaugh, who was in charge of the ticket office.

Co-defendants include:
Charlotte Blubaugh, 44, Medford, Okla., who is set for sentencing April 14 after pleading guilty to conspiracy.
Thomas Ray Blubaugh, 47, 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.
Kassie Liebsch, 28, Lawrence, Kan., who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to 37 months after pleading guilty to conspiracy.
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.

 

 

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