A Florida man is accused of defrauding investors he recruited for a business opportunity where he was supposed to secure coveted tickets and resell them for a profit.
The federal indictment against Thomas Coelho, 52, of St. Petersburg, charges him with two counts of wire fraud. It also notifies Coelho that the U.S. government is seeking to recover $1.8 million, the amount he is estimated to have made from the scheme.
Federal prosecutors say Coelho recruited investors for the business opportunity using his entertainment industry connections to make it seem like he had privileged access to tickets to certain high-profile events.
Instead of using the investors’ money to buy event tickets, the U.S. government says Coelho primarily used it for personal expenses, entertainment, and cash withdrawals.
If convicted, Coelho faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each count.
The Associated Press contributed to this article