Former Sox ticket sellers plead guilty
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.