CHICAGO — A Chicago woman was arrested today for allegedly operating a multi-million dollar fraud scheme that duped investors into believing she could earn profits on the secondary market for concert and sporting event tickets.
TRACY MONTI fraudulently obtained more than $5 million from investors by misrepresenting that she would purchase tickets for sporting events and concerts from primary market sources at face value and then re-sell them for a profit on the secondary market, according to a nine-count indictment returned Thursday in federal court in Chicago. In reality, Monti used the victims’ funds to purchase a house in Chicago and a vehicle, and to make Ponzi-type payments to other investors, according to the indictment.
Monti, 42, of Chicago, was arrested this morning. She pleaded not guilty during an arraignment today before U.S. District Judge Manish S. Shah. Monti was ordered released on a recognizance bond, and a status hearing was scheduled for Nov. 9, 2016.
The indictment charges Monti with seven counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. Each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, while each money laundering count carries a maximum sentence of ten years.
The indictment was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and James D. Robnett, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.
According to the indictment, Monti misrepresented to investors that she had business relationships with multiple primary market sources, such as event promoters and venues, through which she purportedly purchased tickets at face value. The indictment alleges that these relationships didn’t actually exist, and that Monti did not purchase tickets at face value.
The indictment seeks forfeiture of a house in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago and approximately $5.02 million in cash.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Romero.