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CHICAGO — Two former employees of the Chicago White Sox schemed with a ticket broker to fraudulently sell thousands of tickets to White Sox baseball games, according to an indictment returned in federal court in Chicago.
While working as ticket sellers for the White Sox, JAMES COSTELLO and WILLIAM O’NEIL fraudulently generated complimentary and discount game tickets without the team’s authorization and gave them to the broker, BRUCE LEE, in exchange for cash payments, the 14-count indictment states. Lee, who owned the Chicago-based ticket brokerage Great Tickets, then sold the tickets on the online marketplace StubHub at prices below face value, the indictment states.
During the 2016 to 2019 baseball seasons, Lee earned approximately $868,369 by selling approximately 34,876 tickets that he fraudulently obtained from Costello and O’Neil, the charges allege. As a result of the scheme, the White Sox suffered a loss of approximately $1 million, the indictment states.
The indictment was returned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. It charges Lee, 34, of Chicago, with eleven counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering, while Costello, 66, of New Lenox, is charged with one count of wire fraud, and O’Neil, 51, of New Lenox, is charged with one count of making a false statement to the FBI. Arraignments have not yet been scheduled.
The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, while each money laundering count carries a maximum sentence of ten years. The false statement charge is punishable by up to five years. If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.