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COLUMBUS – Arthur E. Schlichter, 51, of Columbus pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count each of wire fraud, bank fraud and filing a false income tax return for defrauding investors in a ticket resale business he claimed he was operating.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Darryl Williams, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS) announced the plea entered today before U.S. District Judge Michael Watson.

According to court documents, Schlichter began soliciting people in 2008 to invest in a ticket-resale business that he was purportedly operating. He represented to them he was buying tickets to Ohio State football and basketball games and NFL football games (using his supposed personal connections) at low prices and in bulk, and that he would then re-sell the tickets at a profit. As part of the scheme, he instructed a person to send a wire transfer of funds from an account in Florida to an account he controlled in the Southern District of Ohio.

In truth, however, Schlichter did not have connections through which he could get tickets at unusually low prices, and he did not use the money that people gave to him to buy tickets or to invest in a ticket-resale business for either purpose. Schlichter instead spent the money on personal expenses, gambled with it, or used it to repay older debts.

Schlichter admitted that he paid investors with checks that he knew that the accounts on which they were drawn did not have sufficient funds to cover the checks. He also admitted to failing to disclose income he received from the scheme when he filed his taxes in 2008. Schlichter reported an income tax liability that was $38,482.36 less than what it should have been.

Court documents say there were more than 50 victims of the scheme who lost between $1 million and $2.5 million. If Judge Watson accepts the terms of the plea agreement, Schlichter will serve 127 months in prison.

Stewart commended the investigation conducted IRS agents as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Glassman, who is prosecuting the case.



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