Monday, March 01, 2010

Wiseguys Indicted in $25 Million Online Ticket Ring

Kim Zetter writes on Threat Level:

A ring of ticket brokers has been indicted in connection to an elaborate hacking scheme that used bots and other fraudulent means to purchase more than 1 million tickets for concerts, sporting events and other events.

The defendants made more than $25 million in profits from the resale of the tickets between 2002 and 2009.

According to the 43-count federal indictment [.pdf] unsealed Monday in New Jersey, the defendants set up a nationwide network through which they were able to impersonate thousands of individual ticket buyers, defeating the security and fraud measures that online ticket vendors such as Ticketmaster, Musictoday and put in place to thwart automated ticket buying.

The defendants did business as Wiseguy Tickets and Seats of San Francisco, and used two shell companies called Smaug and Platinum Technologies to purchase IP blocks and rent servers to conduct the attacks.

Wiseguy often obtained so many premium tickets for an event that it was the leading source for the best tickets to some of the most popular events, according to prosecutors. They allegedly purchased tickets to Miley Cyrus, Barbra Streisand, Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen concerts, as well as tickets to the Rose Bowl football game in 2006 and the 2007 Major League Baseball playoffs at Yankee Stadium.

In 2007, the owners offered employees a 100 percent salary bonus if the company met a goal of purchasing 1 million tickets of a certain value, the authorities said.

More here.


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