Joseph Meli was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to charges of defrauding 130 investors in a proposed ticket resale scheme that included popular Broadway shows.
According to Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Meli received $100 million from investors and promised to use that money to buy tickets to live events, which court documents show included Broadway shows such as “Hamilton” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” and resell those tickets at a profit. However, prosecutors say Meli instead used the funds for personal expenses, including making payments on a 2017 Porsche convertible.
Further, Meli is said to have provided false documents to investors purporting that his company, Advance Entertainment LLC, had written agreements with the production companies of those Broadway shows, as well as with popular singers and bands, that allowed him to purchase large blocks of tickets. The scheme is said to have lasted from 2015 to 2017.
Meli plead guilty to securities fraud on Oct. 31, 2017.
Meli is also said to have used the funds he received to make payments to previous investors, in addition to making payments toward the Porsche and a house in East Hampton.
“Joseph Meli directed his own version of a Broadway production, where the lead character deceives investors into giving him money that he pockets and spends on himself, or uses to pay off other investors. Today, however, Meli’s Ponzi scheme is over, and he will serve prison time for his crimes,” Berman said in the press release.
Meli was ordered to forfeit $104,765,565, the amount of proceeds he obtained from his scheme and to pay $58.8 million in restitution.