A 44-year-old man has been jailed for 12 months after he gained some €7,000 by selling fake tickets for concerts by Adele and Justin Bieber and Electric Picnic to music fans all over the country.
Father of seven, John Meade with an address at An Cussan, Lisbrack, Longford, pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to 18 counts of causing a loss by deception and one count of attempting to cause a loss by deception.
Meade admitted the offences which took place in several counties including Galway, Meath, Cork, Westmeath, Kildare, Dublin, Donegal and Mayo between July 25th, 2015 and February 17th 2016.
Det Sgt Clodagh O’Sullivan said the scam involved a woman placing ads for concerts tickets on the DoneDeal website with various phone numbers which interested parties rang to buy the tickets.
The woman would explain that she wouldn’t be able to meet the buyer in person but that her brother or her father would meet them with the tickets which they would sell to them for cash.
Meade would then turn up and meet the buyer and give them e-tickets which had been printed out in return for cash only for the music fan to turn up at the concert to discover the tickets were fake.
Several of the music fans contacted Ticketmaster who had referred the matter to gardaí and they began checking CCTV at various locations where people bought the tickets and identified Meade.
The ads had been placed with DoneDeal using a prepaid mobile phone and gardaí were unable to trace the woman behind the scam and Meade refused to give them her name, the court heard.
Det Sgt O'Sullivan said that Meade was arrested by gardaí at Dublin Airport on January 17th, 2017 when he told gardaí that he was returning from spending six months in Belfast.
She said Meade had 21 previous offences including ones for using a false instrument namely forged concert tickets to obtain money for which he received a suspended sentence and a fine.
Defence barrister, Donal O’Sullivan BL said Meade had told gardaí he hardly knew how to turn on a computer but he accepted he was the public face of the scam.
He said his client had been battling a drink problem while he also had overcome a heroin addiction in the past only to succumb to it again more recently, said Mr O’Sullivan.
Judge Sean O Donnabhain said it was a particularly mean crime where Meade preyed on the hopes and expectation of music fans who bought tickets from him to go various concerts.
They had turned up at the concert venues only to discover that the tickets were not genuine but photocopied e-tickets with fake bar codes and Meade had pocketed €7,000 in the scam.
The other factor that concerned him was the fact the crimes were continuous over several months though Meade by his guilty plea had saved the State a difficult case to prove had it gone to trial.
Judge O Donnabhain said taking all factors into account, he would impose a two-year sentence but would suspend the final 12 months on condition that Meade be of good behaviour upon his release.