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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hull Woman Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud and Filing a False Tax Return in a Super Bowl Tickets Scheme

Ranae Harriet Van Roekel, 48, from Hull, Iowa, pled guilty today in federal court in Sioux City and was convicted of one count of mail fraud and one count of filing a false tax return.

Evidence produced at the plea hearing revealed, from about January 2008 to about June 2012, Van Roekel, used the internet, phone networks, and the United States Mail, to claim to have access to tickets to various events (including Super Bowl XLVI) at steeply discounted prices because of some claimed personal relationship, membership, or association with the events or related organizations. For example, she claimed to have come by access to discounted Super Bowl XLVI tickets by fraudulently claiming she was a member of the Super Bowl Planning Committee.

She then collected money from victims, through the United States Mail purportedly for the purpose of obtaining these tickets, hotel rooms, and other goods and services, but then claimed she could not fill most of the orders.  Defendant paid some victims "refunds" with money from newly acquired victims to prevent detection of the scheme

Sentencing before United States District Court Judge Leonard T. Strand will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Van Roekel remains free on bond previously set; Van Roekel faces up to 20 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, $100 in special assessments, and up to three years of supervised release following any imprisonment on the mail fraud count, and up to 8 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, $100 in special assessments, and up to one year of supervised release following any imprisonment on the filing a false income tax return count.

The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, The Iowa Attorney General’s Office, and the Internal Revenue Service and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Forde Fairchild. 

Court files information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl. 

The case file number is CR16-4059.

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Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated August 3, 2016