A Chicago ticket broker, Bruce Lee, has been sentenced to 1 and a half years in federal prison for several counts of the white-collar crime of wire fraud, stemming from sales of fraudulently obtained tickets to Chicago White Sox games.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Lee was also ordered to pay $455,229 in forfeiture of his gains and $74,650 in restitution by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly.
The case came to light when the White Sox’s data analytics department discovered that Lee, as a StubHub seller and owner of the ticket brokerage service, Great Tickets, had sold more White Sox tickets than anyone else by a substantial margin.
The analytics team thought Lee might have had inside help, so it contacted the FBI in October of 2018.
Their suspicions about inside help proved to be correct. Two former White Sox employees later admitted their roles in the scheme, which involved printing out thousands of discounted and complimentary tickets and then selling them to Lee for cash, none of which went to the team.
After an investigation, Lee and the 2 former White Sox employees were indicted in January of 2020 for money laundering and wire fraud.
One of the 2 ex-employees later pleaded guilty to wire fraud, and the other later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Both cooperated with the investigation and are awaiting sentencing.
Lee faced trial in the fall of 2021, where a jury found him guilty of several counts of wire fraud.
According to federal prosecutors, the scheme generated nearly $1 million for Lee and the other 2 men.
An actress and former yoga studio owner who lives in Monterrey, Mexico, was arrested by federal authorities on January 31 in Houston upon her arrival on a flight from Mexico. She and a Fresno, California, hairstylist have been charged in a 12-count indictment alleging they defrauded a California physician out of over $2.7 million before his death…
Prison sentence is seen as a deterrent
Before his hearing for sentencing, Lee’s criminal defense attorneys argued that the baseball team indirectly benefited from the years-long scheme since the extra tickets led to more fans coming to Guaranteed Rate Field and spending money on food and drinks at the ballpark.
At trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider told jurors that the “White Sox got nothing” out of the fraudulent ticket sales. At sentencing, Judge Kennelly appeared to agree with Schneider, calling claims that the fraud benefitted the White Sox “delusional.”
According to ABC7News, Judge Kennelly said it was important to show other people who might consider trying such a scheme that getting caught could cost them their freedom. In that sense, Lee’s sentencing might serve as a deterrent to others.
“The math needs to include the possibility that, if I get caught paying these people under the table, I’m going to lose my liberty,” Kennelly said. “Without that, it’s just dollars and cents.”
White-collar crimes don’t always mean prison
Non-violent offenses, known as white-collar crimes, don’t always mean prison for those accused or charged.
Recently, a client of the Houston-based Neal Davis Law Firm was among 21 defendants in a federal telemarketing fraud case that involved far more money than the Bruce Lee case—$300 million, in fact.
Davis’s client was the only defendant to receive probation in the case. The other 20 defendants all received prison sentences—some for as many as 20 years in federal prison. Davis’s client only received 3 years of probation, with no prison time.
Another example of the award-winning law firm’s success for white-collar crime defendants came when a Davis client was given a lenient 2-year probated sentence for theft of public money.
The client had pocketed almost $290,000 in military pension checks, which had been sent to his uncle for 20 years following his uncle’s death.
The probation decision by a federal court judge came in spite of a sentencing guideline of at least 18 months in federal prison for the crime, which is a felony. Davis defended the client by portraying him as a family man who was ready to make amends and pay restitution.
Get an experienced white-collar crime defense lawyer
If you or someone in your family in the Houston area, Fort Bend County or Montgomery County faces an accusation or charge of a white-collar crime, contact the Neal Davis Law Firm today to arrange a consultation for your case.
Neil Davis has been repeatedly honored by his peers and clients, with his work handling white-collar crime receiving particular acclaim.
In the most recent edition of Best Lawyers in America, which honors lawyers in the top 5 percent of their field, Davis was honored for both “Criminal Defense: General Practice” and for “Criminal Defense: White Collar.”
In fact, he’s been honored by Best Lawyers for his work handling white-collar cases every year since 2015.
While the Neal Davis Law Firm is experienced in white-collar crime cases such as embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and theft, it also handles a wide variety of criminal cases. These include assault, sexual assault, murder, online solicitation, Title IX cases, family violence and child pornography.