U.S Charges Two Over $81m Ponzi Scam

Two Americans, Joseph Meli, 42, and Matthew Harriton, 52, were at the weekend nabbed and accused by the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission of organizing an $81 million Ponzi scheme by raising money from investors to buy and resell tickets for popular shows.

According to Reuters, the shows are “Hamilton,” which won 11 Tony Awards last year, and concerts featuring Adele, the SEC said.

Joseph Meli, who ran the ticket business, and Steven Simmons, the head of alternative investments at Sideris Capital Partners, were arrested on at the weekend on securities fraud and wire fraud charges.

According to the U.S SEC in its criminal complaint, an “unnamed Connecticut hedge fund had raised funds from, among others, an investment fund that sank $4.2 million into it, only to misappropriate most of the money.

“After that investor demanded repayment, the cooperating witness turned to Simmons, who raised $850,000 from an investor, and Meli, who provided $3.75 million from an account for Advance Entertainment LLC, court papers said.

“The SEC said Meli and Harriton through Advance Entertainment and other ticket resale business entities were meanwhile involved in a separate Ponzi scheme.

“Of the $81 million they raised from 125 investors, $48 million was used to repay earlier investors, while funds were spent on jewelry, private school tuition, gambling, and other expenses”, the SEC said.