Two British ticket scalpers – Peter Hunter and David Smith – were convicted on fraud charges.
Both men used multiple identities and bots to buy over £4 million ($5.2 million) worth of tickets to numerous gigs. The duo scalped tickets for Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Liam Gallagher, and Taylor Swift events, among those targeted. Over 750 Sheeran tickets ended up on secondary ticketing sites from this duo alone.
The pair then sold the tickets on secondary ticketing sites for £10.8 million ($14.1 million), according to court documents.
Prosecutors describe the duo as “dishonest fraudsters” with only greed as their motivation. Both are guilty of fraudulent trading and possessing an article for fraud, according to jurors. The two British ticket scalpers were exposed after The Guardian dived deeply into the secondary ticketing market.
Two sites the duo used to move tickets – GetMeIn and Seatwave – have since shut down. StubHub and Viagogo are still live, despite multiple complaints from consumers and lawsuits. A merger between the two now faces regulatory scrutiny, too.
Ticket scalpers are using multiple identities, software, and credit cards to hawk their goods. They use bots to snap up as many premium seats as possible, making it harder for genuine fans to get them.
These British ticket scalpers used 100 different names and 88 separate postal addresses to avoid detection. They also engaged in speculative selling or listing tickets for sale they do not own.
“Today’s verdict shines further light on the murky world of secondary ticketing, and the dependency of websites such as Viagogo and StubHub upon large-scale commercial ticket resellers,” said Adam Webb, campaign manager of FanFair Alliance.
“We strongly suspect Peter Hunter and David Smith are not exceptional. Other suppliers to these sites may also acquire tickets by unlawful means – no questions asked,” Webb added.
Ticketmaster faced heavy criticism after reporters found representatives facilitating scalping on their own platforms. A secretly-filmed video by the Toronto Star reveals how Ticketmaster works with scalpers. Ticket resales at higher prices on an official platform allow the ticketing giant to double-dip.