CHICAGO — A Chicago woman has been sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison for operating a multi-million dollar fraud scheme that duped investors into believing she could earn profits on the secondary market for concert and sports tickets.
TRACY MONTI fraudulently obtained more than $5 million from investors by misrepresenting that she could purchase tickets for sporting events and concerts from primary market sources at face value or at a discount through purported connections in the event business and then re-sell the tickets for a profit on the secondary market. In reality, Monti used the victims’ funds to purchase various items for herself, including a house in Chicago, a Dodge Challenger, tattoos, vacations, and shopping sprees at Victoria’s Secret and Neiman Marcus. Monti also made Ponzi-type payments to early investors.
Monti, 44, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Manish S. Shah on Tuesday sentenced Monti to 46 months in prison and ordered her to pay $4,997,958 in restitution to victims.
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Gabriel L. Grchan, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.
The fraud scheme began in 2010 and continued until 2015. Monti misrepresented to investors that she had business relationships with multiple primary sources, such as event promoters and venues, through which she could purchase tickets at face value before re-selling them for a profit. Those relationships did not actually exist. Monti victimized more than ten investors, one of whom took money out of his pension to invest in Monti’s scam.
“This case involves a brazen and merciless scheme to defraud,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheri H. Mecklenburg argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “Defendant cast a wide net, seeking victims wherever and whenever she could.”