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Super Bowl scam left ticket broker $69,000 short, lawsuit says

Chicago Sun-Times

A Chicago ticket-brokering company was scammed out of dozens of Super Bowl tickets -- and thousands of dollars in profits -- by a Florida man who was buying the tickets from NFL players, a new lawsuit alleges.

Tickets321.com, which filed the suit last week in Cook County Circuit Court, wants a judge to order Authentic Sports Inc. and Bradley and Richard Wells to cough up at least $69,000, which Tickets321.com contends was lost in the deal.

Tickets321.com wired Bradley Wells -- who was acting as a sort of middleman -- $39,000 so he could purchase tickets from pro football players he claimed to know with the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles, the suit says. The tickets were to Super Bowl XXXIX this past winter.

The Eagles were in the Super Bowl. The Falcons were not, but even teams not in the big game can get Super Bowl tickets.

Expected $30,000 profit

The tickets Wells was buying were supposed to go to Tickets321.com so they could be re-sold to the public. Tickets321.com expected to recoup the $39,000 -- and make around $30,000 on top of that.

Wells took the $39,000 -- which was deposited in an account held by Wells' father, Richard, an Indiana resident -- and Bradley Wells went ahead and bought game tickets, the suit claims.

Though the tickets had a face value of about $500 each, players and coaches were charging $1,500 for each ticket, and Tickets321.com was planning to sell them for $2,700 each, the suit claims.

But instead of delivering tickets to Tickets321.com, Wells sold them for as much as $5,000 each, the suit alleges.

David Harpest, an attorney for the ticket-brokering firm, declined comment. But the suit indicated the company tried unsuccessfully to arrange payment plans with Wells.

Denies wrongdoing

In a telephone interview while he was in St. Petersburg, Fla., Wells denied wrongdoing. "We've both been taken for a lot of money by another man," he said. "The individual I knew, who was friends with the players, probably ran off to the islands with our money."

Wells said he did not scam Tickets321.com, but declined to explain bank records indicating he spent the company's money.

Though NFL players and coaches are given the chance to purchase Super Bowl tickets at face value, they must sign an agreement not to re-sell those tickets to others at a higher price.

Even so, Wells said "it's a common thing" for tickets to be scalped by players and coaches, then sold for an even bigger profit by brokers.

Last week, the NFL fined Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Tice $100,000 for scalping his Super Bowl tickets last year, while also slapping $10,000 fines on some of his assistant coaches for the same.

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