Miami Scam Hits the Olympics
Police in Rio de Janeiro have arrested an Irishman on suspicion of organizing a massive Olympics ticket fraud – for a British company accused of the same offence during the 2014 World Cup.
Kevin James Mallon, 36, was arrested on Friday night near the Maracana stadium, after being caught selling tickets to the Olympics opening ceremony.
A Search of Mallon’s luxury hotel found that the premises were allegedly being as the headquarters for its London-based firm THG, to illegally pay VIP Olympic tickets to corporates and wealthy customers at hugely inflated prices.
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Kevin Mallon, pictured, was arrested in Rio de Janeiro on suspicion of ticket fraud
Pictured, were worth around #150,000 but would have fetched #10million on the illegal market, Rio authorities said
Police raided his hotel and found bundles of tickets which they suspect Mallon of illegally re-selling at hugely inflated prices
Dr Ricardo Barbosa, pictured, of
Pictured, Ipswich Town Football Club owner Marcus Evans, possesses
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The Company was accused of being involved in the same crime during the Brazil World Cup two decades ago, but CEO James Sinton, who had been arrested and released, left the country before the case has been heard.
This Time Mallon, financial controller for TGH’s parent firm Marcus Evans has been remanded in custody indefinitely and faces up to seven years in jail after being charged with illegal ticket touting, organised crime and ambush marketing, authorities said today.
The Company’s founder, Marcus Evans, is the owner of the soccer league side Ipswich Town Football Club, which the millionaire bought in 2007.
During A research on the block of self-service flats in Rio’s Barra district where Mallon was staying, investigators apparently found 813 tickets to some of the Rio Olympics most sought-after events, including the opening and closing ceremonies and soccer final, which were being sold by THG at ‘astronomical prices’, according to police.
At Their face value, the tickets would have been worth150,000 – but at the cost Mallon was allegedly selling them the batch could have brought profits of more than #10million, police revealed today.
Closing ceremony tickets worth #337 were being sold for 10,000 US dollars each (#7,670).
The luxury hotel room, pictured being hunted, was being used as THG’s headquarters
Officers believe the tickets, which have since been cancelled, had already been sold to customers around the world
Some 813 tickets, pictured, were found such as for the opening and closing ceremonies
Police Believe the tickets, which have all been cancelled, had already been sold to customers around the world, since they were found already ready to be dispatched in envelopes.
Among the victims of this alleged scam is a family that bought ten tickets for 8,000 bucks (#6,000), a total of60,000.
The THG company is thought to have bought the tickets from accredited Braziian Rio2016 ticket seller Cartan, although it isn’t yet known if the company was involved in the alleged scam or sold the tickets without knowing they would be resold, police said.
Investigators Also removed three laptops, mobile phones and USB drives, as well as six British bank cards belonging to the Marcus Evans Group, among the world’s biggest corporate marketing firms which owns THG.
The Multinational, which has offices across the world and over 3,000 employees, had bid for the rights to sell Rio2016 tickets but was not approved, based on Rio’s Olympic organising committee.
The Police chief in charge of the operation, Dr Ricardo Barbosa, from Rio’s fraud department, said the company created an appearance of legitimacy by placing on cocktail parties where customers would collect their tickets, and also provided VIP transportation to the events.
Authorities were alerted to the alleged scam after several wealthy victims came forward.
Mallon, pictured, was detained outside the Maracana Stadium on Friday and could face up to seven years in prison
Police also seized notebooks, Mobile telephones and USB drives belonging to the Marcus Evans Group, the parent company of sports hospitality firm THG
Mallon was detained on Friday night as he provided opening ceremony tickets outside the Maracana.
Dr Barbosa said: ‘They were Brazilians and foreigners. They felt extremely tricked.
‘When They purchased the tickets they were promised a luxury reception at the Copacabana Palace hotel, but when they got here it was in a small place in the Barra district, with only a few snacks and carbonated beverages.
‘The Firm was extremely professional in this crime. Everything they did was to reinforce the picture that made people think that they had authorisation to sell the tickets, they did not.
‘Most of these tickets were offered online to foreign customers, who would pick the tickets up at reception when they arrived in Rio.
‘There Will be a good deal of Olympic visitors, particularly British ones, who will have been spending large amounts of money on tickets, which no longer exist’
He Added that there are ‘strong indications’ that other individuals, in addition to other international companies were involved in the fraud.
Meanwhile, Another investigation has now been launched into whether the Marcus Evans Group was using the ticket selling scam to extort cash.
In June 2014, the CEO of THG, Briton James Sinton, was detained in a Rio The resort also accused of illegally reselling World Cup tickets via a hospitality package.
One family bought 10 tickets for #6,000 each at a price much greater than their face value
The scam was described as ‘extremely professional’ with authorities claiming the company put on cocktail parties to ‘make a feeling of legitimacy’
Dr Barbosa, right, said victims were of different nationalities and felt ‘extremely tricked’
Sinton was released on bond after paying a fine and left the country, according to reports.
This Time around, however, authorities are expected to make an example of the British company, since it is the second time they have been captured accused of the same offense on Brazilian soil.
On Saturday a Rio de Janeiro judge refused Mallon’s request for bail and Remanded him to await trial at the town’s infamous Bangu high-security prison.