RICHARD MCNEAL PLEADS GUILTY TO SELLING COUNTERFEIT BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP & SUPER BOWL TICKETS
RICHARD MCNEAL, age 47, a resident of Randallstown, Maryland, pled guilty in federal court today before U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon to Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods, announced United States Dana J. Boente. MCNEAL is scheduled to be sentenced on September 19, 2013.
According to Court documents, the defendant travelled to New Orleans on or about January 8, 2012 in order to sell counterfeit tickets to the 2012 Allstate BCS National Championship game. Because there were no available hotel rooms in New Orleans, the defendant travelled to Picayune, Mississippi and stayed at a Days Inn motel. While staying at the Days Inn, the defendant sold four counterfeit tickets, for a total of $3,000.00, to victims who wanted to attend the BCS National Championship Game. When the victims tried to enter the Louisiana Super Dome to attend the game, the tickets were rejected for being counterfeit. The victims then returned to Picayune, Mississippi and reported the crime to local police.
On or about February 2, 2013, the defendant travelled to New Orleans to sell counterfeit tickets to the Super Bowl. During the events leading up to the Super Bowl, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the National Football League (NFL) set up the NFL Ticket Reconciliation Office (TRO), located at 1515 Poydras Street, as part of an effort to investigate counterfeit Super Bowl ticket sales. On February 3, 2013, at approximately 11:45 a.m., HSI Special Agents were contacted by a victim who sought to verify the authenticity of two tickets she had purchased from the defendant for a total of $1650.00. After it was determined that the tickets were counterfeit, the victim provided the defendant’s contact information to HSI Special Agents.
On February 3, 2013, at approximately 12:10 p.m., HSI Special Agents, acting in an undercover capacity, arranged to meet the defendant at a local coffee shop in order to purchase Super Bowl tickets. At the coffee shop, the defendant offered to sell two Super Bowl tickets, for a total of $2,600.00, to an undercover HSI Special Agent. Officers of the New Orleans Police Department, who were working with the HSI Special Agents, then arrested the defendant after it was determined that the tickets were counterfeit.
On February 3, 2013, at approximately 2:40 p.m., a second victim entered the TRO and was in possession of two counterfeit tickets he had purchased from the defendant for a total of $1000.00. The victim had the defendant’s telephone number, and positively identified a photo of the defendant as the person who had sold him the counterfeit tickets.
“Counterfeit goods steal revenue from legitimate businesses that pay taxes and employ workers, but counterfeit tickets also rip off unsuspecting fans who are left without their money and without a ticket,” said Special Agent in Charge of HSI New Orleans Raymond R. Parmer, Jr. “Organized criminals prey on the excitement surrounding big events; the public should remember any item that seems ‘too good to be true’ should be cause for caution and concern.” Parmer oversees a five-state area of responsibility including Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection, the Picayune Police Department, the Pearl River County District Attorney’s Office, the New Orleans Police Department and the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney G. Dall Kammer.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to: (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org