Former Sox ticket sell­ers plead guilty

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - Jon Seidel

Two former White Sox ticket sell­ers pleaded guilty in fed­eral court Tues­day to their roles in a scheme with a ticket bro­ker to fraud­u­lently sell thou­sands of tick­ets to games, cost­ing the team about $1 mil­lion.

James Costello, 67, and Wil­liam O’Neil, 51, each ad­mit­ted their crimes dur­ing hear­ings held by video­con­fer­ence due to the coro­n­avirus pan­demic. Costello pleaded guilty to wire fraud, and O’Neil ad­mit­ted he lied to the FBI.

A third de­fen­dant in the case, pro­lific ticket bro­ker Bruce Lee, still faces 11 counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laun­der­ing. His trial has been set for Jan. 25. The plea agree­ments for Costello and O’Neil an­tic­i­pate the men will co­op­er­ate with pros­e­cu­tors.

A 20-page in­dict­ment that be­came pub­lic in Jan­uary al­leged that Lee made $868,369 by fraud­u­lently sell­ing 34,876 tick­ets dur­ing the 2016 through 2019 base­ball sea­sons.

The in­dict­ment said Costello and O’Neil gen­er­ated thou­sands of com­pli­men­tary and dis­count tick­ets — with­out re­quired vouch­ers — and gave them to Lee in ex­change for cash. Dur­ing Tues­day’s hear­ing, As­sis­tant U.S. At­tor­ney Matthew Sch­nei­der said Costello col­lected more than $100,000 from Lee.

Costello used other em­ploy­ees’ ID codes to avoid de­tec­tion as he ac­cessed White Sox Tick­et­mas­ter com­put­ers. He even­tu­ally re­cruited O’Neil to help with the scheme.

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