Report: Ex-White Sox employees face FBI charges in ticket scam

Field Level Media

February 01, 2020 at 2:42 am.

A pair of former Chicago White Sox employees are reportedly facing federal charges along with a ticket broker in an investigation into an alleged ticket scam that lasted from 2016 until the run-up to the 2019 season.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Friday that the broker charged, 34-year-old Bruce Lee, faces 11 counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering over a scheme involving two men — James Costello, 66, and William O’Neil, 51 — who used to work for the White Sox as ticket sales representatives.

Costello is being charged with one count of wire fraud, with O’Neil staring at one count of allegedly making false statements to FBI agents, stating he did not provide complimentary White Sox tickets to Lee without team knowledge or approval.

Court documents claim that Lee pocketed $868,369 by making sales involving nearly 35,000 tickets through the apparent scheme.

Per the indictment, Costello and O’Neil produced several thousand discount and complimentary tickets and distributed them to Lee for sale on StubHub. With Lee allegedly paying the two men for the tickets, created using identification codes of other White Sox employees, the broker put the tickets up for sale online at prices below face value.

A senior vice president with the team tipped off the FBI in October 2018, per the report, upon becoming suspicious after the White Sox data analytics team flagged Lee as a broker who “sold more White Sox tickets than anyone else by a substantial margin.”

The team had also uncovered that over 96 percent of Lee’s tickets sold on Stubhub were complimentary vouchers normally used by family and friends of the players, sponsors, youth groups and others — none of which were intended to be available to the general public.

According to the court papers, an FBI agent contended that Lee sold 11,000 tickets in the 2018 season — with the next biggest Stubhub brokers selling only 129, 113 and 108 tickets, respectively.