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Press Release

Former Radio Personality Martin Tirrell Sentenced to Prison for Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa — On January 20, 2021, United States District Court Judge Stephanie M. Rose sentenced Martin James Tirrell, age 60, formerly of West Des Moines, to 41 months in prison for Mail Fraud announced Acting United States Attorney Richard D. Westphal. Following his prison term, Tirrell was ordered to serve three years of supervised release, as well as immediately pay $200 to the Crime Victims’ Fund. Tirrell was also ordered to pay over $1.4 million in restitution to victims.

Tirrell pleaded guilty to the offense on December 6, 2019. Evidence presented at the sentencing hearing established that Tirrell had been participating in sports ticket scams for over ten years. He marketed himself as a sports insider who had access to prime seating for sporting events. He found investors by giving them free sports tickets and access to VIP seating. Tirrell then convinced them to give him money to purchase sports tickets at a discount, that he would then sell to the general public at a higher price. Tirrell promised to return their investments and split the profits. Tirrell instead took the money and paid off other victims, made unauthorized purchases, or used the money to place online sports bets. When Tirrell was unable to find new “investors,” he kited checks, stole credit cards, and made fraudulent claims to banks to try to obtain more money to perpetuate his scheme. Tirrell also scammed people out of money by promising sports tickets, receiving payment, then failing to produce the promised tickets.

These matters were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Ankeny Police Department. This case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.


Rachel J. Scherle

Updated January 20, 2021

Financial Fraud