The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a sports radio personality and another New York City man with stealing millions of dollars from investors who were allegedly promised their funds would be used for the purchase and resale of concert tickets.
In a complaint filed in federal district court in Manhattan, the SEC alleges that Craig Carton and Joseph Meli falsely claimed they had access to large blocks of face value tickets to popular concert performances. According to the SEC’s complaint, investors were falsely promised high returns from the price markups in ticket resales. But instead of purchasing tickets for resale, Carton and Meli allegedly misappropriated at least $3.6 million to repay earlier investors and cover such other expenses as Carton’s gambling debts. Carton allegedly stole an additional $2 million by tricking a concert venue into forwarding an investor’s money into a bank account belonging to one of Carton’s companies.
According to the SEC’s complaint, one investor was provided documents falsely representing that large blocks of Adele tickets were being purchased at face value directly from Adele’s management company when in fact no such agreement was in place. Meli was separately charged earlier this year with operating a Ponzi scheme involving purported resales of tickets to the Broadway musical Hamilton and other events.
“As alleged in our complaint, investors were lured with promises of big profits from resales of A-list concert tickets, but little did they know their money was being used to cover Carton’s gambling debts among other things,” said Paul Levenson, Director of the SEC’s Boston Regional Office.
The SEC’s complaint seeks disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest and penalties against Carton and Meli along with six businesses they control: Advance Entertainment LLC, AdvanceM Ltd., Misoluki Inc., Misoluki LLC, Ticket Jones LLC, and Tier One Tickets LLC.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York today announced criminal charges against Carton.
The SEC’s case is being handled by Dahlia Rin, John McCann, Martin Healey, and Celia Moore of the Boston office. The SEC appreciates the assistance of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.