Ticketmaster fighting against ticket fraud

The News Leader

March 1, 2010 1:29:47 PM PST
Getting tickets to any Bruce Springsteen concert can be a challenge, but federal prosecutors say it was even harder in July of 2008.That's when a company called Wiseguy Tickets bought up half of the top floor seats within seconds.

Those premium tickets were then sold to ticket brokers, who could charge consumers double, triple, even ten times face value.

"Each fan thought they had a great shot at best seats but they didn't," said New Jersey Attorney General, Paul Fishman.

New Jersey's attorney general has charged four California men with fraud, for using a sophisticated computer program that outsmarted Ticketmaster's security system that requires purchasers to retype words in jumbled font.

The 42-count indictment says their hacking was so effective, Wiseguys bought more than 1.5 million tickets, and raked in more than $25 million in profits when they sold some of the hottest tickets at a mark-up.

It wasn't just music, Wiseguys allegedly purchased 1,000 tickets to the Giants-Eagles playoff game last year.

The company, clearly pleased with itself, said in an internal report that it had, "pigged out" on the tickets.

Customers say their frustrated and think the "pigging out" needs to stop.

Ticketmaster and other online ticket sellers are the alleged victims in this case, but consumers are the real losers.

Investigators say the fraud made it close to impossible for people to get good seats.

So, if they really wanted tickets, they'd be forced to go to a ticket broker and pay exorbitant fees.

One man from Wiseguys is still being held, while two others are now out on $500k and $1 million in bail.

The indictment was unsealed with the surrender of three of the defendants, 40-year-old Kenneth Lowson, 37-year-old Kristofer Kirsch and 37-year-old Joel Stevenson, all of California. The fourth man charged was identified as 36-year-old Faisal Nahdi, of California.