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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 29, 2019

Joseph Meli And James Siniscalchi Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Securities And Wire Fraud For Participating In A Broadway Ticket Resale Investment Fraud Scheme

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that JOSEPH MELI and JAMES SINISCALCHI were charged this morning with securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud, stemming from their participation in a fraudulent Broadway ticket investment scheme wherein MELI and SINISCALCHI purported to use investor funds to purchase tickets to Broadway shows for resale on the secondary market, but instead appropriated investment funds for their personal use.

SINISCALCHI was arrested this morning and is expected to be presented today in Magistrate Court before the Hon. Kevin N. Fox.  MELI is presently incarcerated following his conviction in a prior federal case and will be presented when he arrives in the District.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged, Joseph Meli and James Siniscalchi engaged in a scheme to defraud investors by lying about purported access to blocks of Broadway tickets.  As alleged, the acting was all done by the defendants, who posed as legitimate businessmen but appropriated the money they said would be invested in theatre tickets.”  

According to the Complaint[1] unsealed today in Manhattan federal court and the Indictment and statements made in court proceedings related to MELI’s prior conviction:

Beginning in at least March 2017 through in or about April 2018, MELI and SINISCALCHI falsely represented to partners in a business entity (the “Entertainment Company”), that MELI and SINISCALCHI owned a large number of tickets to live events, or intended to purchase a large number of tickets to live events, and would sell those tickets to the Entertainment Company using investor money the Entertainment Company had solicited for the purpose of reselling those tickets on the secondary market for profit.  Representatives of the Entertainment Company, in reliance on statements made by MELI and SINISCALCHI, represented to investors that investor funds would be used to purchase bulk tickets to live shows, and promised investors a share of these profits.  In fact, MELI and SINISCALCHI failed to invest the investor monies as promised, but rather diverted investor monies to their own personal use, including sending $455,000 to a close relative of MELI’s, and $105,000 to a residential management company that managed an apartment MELI was leasing.

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SINISCALCHI, 46, of New York, New York, and MELI, 44, of New York, New York, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, one count of securities fraud, and one count of wire fraud.  The conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.  The securities fraud count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5 million, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.  The wire fraud count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencings of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Berman praised the work of the Special Agents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission for its assistance.  

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Mortazavi is in charge of the prosecution.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Topic(s): 
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Press Release Number: 
19-134
Updated April 29, 2019