A con man that has been ripping people off selling counterfeit concert tickets for big bucks is in police custody. It is the direct result of a FOX 5 undercover investigation.
Reporter Arnold Diaz says to a Melvyn, a con man, "You ripped a lady off for 700 bucks for 4 tickets."
Melvyn responds, "What lady?"
"The lady who contacted us and you sold her these seats," says Diaz. "The same seats you just tried to sell us."
FOX 5 caught Melvyn on hidden camera selling counterfeit concert tickets to one of the hottest concerts in town.
One direction is a hugely popular boy band, especially among young girls.
Kelly Brown first went on Ticketmaster trying to get seats to the band's Beacon Theater concert on May 26th, but it sold out in minutes.
"We have a friend who has a teenage daughter who's a really really big fan," Kelly said.
So, Kelly went on Craigslist. She answered an ad for 4 tickets at $175 each and agreed to meet the seller at the Metro Diner.
"He had a great story," Kelly said. "We asked him where he got the tickets. He said his dad worked at a hotel- he gets perks."
The tickets look real and they are great seats: Center Orchestra, Row CC, Seats 104 to 107.
Kelly called Ticketmaster to confirm that the tickets were real.
"I said this is what the ticket looks like," Kelly explained. "I'm buying a ticket from somebody. I just want to make sure it's real. And basically they told me there's nothing we can really tell you. It's up to you if you want to buy it. You won't be able to find out if it's actually a real ticket or not."
So, Kelly paid $700 cash for the tickets. She then took them to a local ticketmaster dealer in her neighborhood. "He took one look at them and said nope, they're fake," Kelly said.
Maria Ostroff, Executive Vice President of Ticketmaster explained, "The feel of the ticket is not like the stock we use. The tickets are good copies, but not great."
Among the many telltale signs, they do not have the address of the Beacon Theatre, there is no name on the printed receipt, and the serial numbers are not consecutive as they should be for seats next to each other.
Why couldn't Ticketmaster have told that to Kelly when she called?
"Our job is if someone bought a ticket from us, we are to verify that and help them if they lost it or something happened to the ticket," Ostroff said. "I'm not sure it's our job if we didn't sell the customer the ticket to verify the ticket."
After realizing she had been swindled, Kelly said she called the police, but was told there is nothing they can do. So instead, she contacted FOX 5, and we set up a sting to catch the con man in the act.
FOX 5 found an ad on Craigslist for One Direction Tickets that was very similar to the one Kelly answered. We responded and arranged to meet the seller at 13th Street and Broadway, where he walked right into our trap.
He told a FOX 5 undercover producer that his name was Melvyn and showed her the tickets.
"So it's Orchestra Row CC Seats 104, 105, 106, and 107" the producer said.
Those are the same seats that Kelly bought, and the hustler gave our producer the same story Kelly got when our producer asked where he had gotten the tickets.
"I got those from my father," Melvyn said. "He works in the Trump Hotel. He retired, so since the Knicks is in Miami or whatever. He usually gets Knicks and Yankees tickets but they just gave him that. He wasn't going to go to that."
The producer said, "Oh yeah, One Direction is not for your father."
Melvyn told the FOX 5 producer the four tickets would cost $500. Then, when she gave the signal, Arnold Diaz and his photographer came around the corner to confront the con man.
"Hey Melvyn, how's it going," Diaz said. "I'm Arnold Diaz from Fox 5. Are those real or fake tickets that you're selling?"
"Official tickets," Melvyn responded. "You can look at them right now. What's all this camera stuff?"
"We're from Fox 5 News," Diaz said. "You see, you sold the same tickets, the same rows, the same exact seats to somebody else."
We showed him the tickets Kelly had bought. His response was expected, "Those tickets aren't from me."
Oh yes they are. "That is the guy," Kelly said. "Same kid. Oh my gosh."
"Do those tickets have the address of the Beacon Theatre on them," Diaz asked Melvyn.
"Beacon Theatre, exactly," he replied.
"But it doesn't say where it is," Diaz continued. "It's supposed to. Ticketmaster says these are bogus tickets."
"Alright, whoa, what are you trying to do," Melvyn asked.
Diaz went on, "Well you are trying to rip people off selling bogus tickets, right? How about the serial number on the back, are they consecutive, because they are consecutive seats?"
We had him dead to the rights, and he knew it. "You got to get that camera out of my face," he said.
But Diaz was persistent as he showed Melvyn the tickets he sold Kelly earlier, "It looks like this is just a straight ripoff," he said. "You advertise on the internet. These are the same exact seats that you just sold."
"You got to get away form me though," Melvyn replied.
Diaz followed Melvyn across the street, asking who the "big man behing the operation was," and to no surprise, Melvyn did not answer.
We get many complaints from people ripped off buying phony tickets, but this is the first time we've caught one of the con men in the act.
So into our Fox 5 Hall of Shame, we induct this hustler selling bogus concert tickets on the Internet.