Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/28/ticket_touts_jailed/

Pop tix touts slung in the cooler for 4 years after £3m web scam

Fans tricked into buying tickets that never existed

By John Leyden

Posted in Security, 28th January 2013 09:28 GMT

Two crooks posing as online ticket touts have been jailed for swindling nearly £3m out of pop fans' pockets.

Andrew Lagan, 44, from Middlesborough, and Gary Agar, 44, from Welling, have started a four-year stretch after they were found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to defraud and one count of money laundering.

The duo set up the website Hydeparkconcerts.com to flog tickets for big gigs and similar events. Their victims handed over their credit or debit card numbers to pay for passes and received emails from an outfit called Good Time Entertainment confirming the sales.

But two to three weeks later, music fans would receive an email from "customer services" informing them that the promised tickets would not be forthcoming, supposedly because Good Time Entertainment had been let down by its supplier. No refunds were offered and victims were told they would need to go back to their banks or credit card companies for reimbursement.

In reality, there were never any tickets available. The fans' money passed through a number of overseas bank accounts before it was eventually trousered by Agar and Lagan.

The pair's business provoked numerous complaints which sparked a police investigation. The conmen were cuffed in 2010 by Met detectives working on Operation Podium, which tackled ticket touts in the run up to last year's Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Investigators reckoned the Hydeparkconcerts.com pair pinched almost £3m from the public. The con men were sentenced on Friday at Harrow Crown Court.

Detective Superintendent Nick Downing said: "These two fraudsters deliberately exploited the public demand for tickets for high profile events, taking money from people for tickets which they were not going to supply, and defrauding banks and credit card companies who were forced into reimbursing victims for their loss.

"If you are buying tickets for events, make sure that you only buy from official sites to ensure that your ticket is genuine and that you ultimately get to see the event you have paid for." ®