LOWER MANHATTAN, Manhattan (WABC) -- A Broadway ticket scalping ring that swindled dozens of theater and concert-goers out of thousands has been smashed, police say, resulting in charges against nine alleged participants.
It was the result of a seven-month joint investigation by the NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.
Five members of the bogus ticket ring who have already been arrested are charged with more than 70 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, scheme to defraud, and grand larceny.
Members of the Midtown South Detective squad say they found the bogus ticket ring working out of two locations in the Bronx, where they found sophisticated printing presses that turned out hundreds of fake tickets.
The criminal complaint says the ring sold forged tickets to sought-after events, everything from Broadway shows like "Dear Evan Hansen" to popular concerts like Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, and Ed Sheeran. Police say the ring even sold bogus tickets to Rangers and Devils hockey games.
Each victim, police say, lost hundreds on each ticket transaction.
The tip-off to the alleged rip off first came last November, after Nina Pineda's 7 On Your Side report showed exactly how ticket scalpers advertised discount tickets to the sold-out Broadway smash "Dear Evan Hansen" online.
She met unsuspecting ticket buyers in Midtown who were sold worthless tickets.
After 7 On Your Side's story first aired, the NYPD set up a sting, where police say they caught one of the tickets scalpers selling fake "Dear Evan Hansen" tickets.
"Hit shows attract the interest of theater aficionados and swindlers alike," District Attorney Cy Vance said. "Ticket scams in particular are all about making a quick buck. As alleged in this case, the defendants tricked their victims into paying hundreds of dollars for forged tickets, which the defendants had advertised as legitimate on Facebook and Craigslist...I encourage event-goers to purchase tickets through authorized vendors and to be skeptical when it comes to ticket deals that seem too good to be true," he continued.
The Manhattan DA's Office is asking victims of this scam to call it's Financial Crimes Hotline: 212-335-8900.
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