Fraudulent Masters ticket scheme leads to charges against Texas family
Four relatives of a Texas family were charged in a scheme to attempt to obtain Masters tickets, according to a release by the U.S. Attorney's office on Monday.
Charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft were brought onto Stephen Michael Freeman, of Katy, Texas. His parents, Steven Lee Freeman and Diane Freeman, in addition to sister, Christine Oliverson, were charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
Names from a bulk mailing list were used by the defendants to create fake accounts within the Masters ticket lottery, according to court documents. The defendants created fake email addresses for these individuals, and had they won badges for the Masters—one of the most prized tickets in all of sports—they would've used false identities and contacted ticket officials to send the tickets to a different address.
“The Masters is one of the world’s great sporting events, and tickets to the tournament are cherished by their fortunate recipients,” said Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “Using fraud and deceit to circumvent the Augusta National’s generous lottery system is despicable, and those who follow the rules in hopes of winning tickets deserve better than to have their chances diminished by profiteering con artists.”
“Because of the defendants’ greed, they now face substantial prison time if convicted of the alleged crimes,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI will always make it a priority to investigate anyone who tries to circumvent a fair process, whether it is the Masters or any other private or public entity.”
Badges for practice round days were going for thousands of dollars on the secondary market in 2019, and Masters tickets are some of the most highly sought of any type of ticket in the world.