PHILADELPHIA, PA – James Bell, a 70-year-old man who owns and operates Sherry’s Theater Ticket Agency is going to jail for six months after being convicted for selling over $1.2 million worth of stolen U.S. Open Golf tournament tickets.
“Bell stole revenue from the USGA, a legitimate business that pays taxes, employs many, supports a non-profit organization, and brings excitement and income to our district with U.S. Open events at golf courses around the region,” said U.S. Attorney Jennifer Williams. “Criminals that conduct ticket schemes like this prey on the excitement surrounding big events; fans should remember that any item with a low price that seems ‘too good to be true’ should be cause for caution and concern.”
Bell, of Glen Mills, PA, was sentenced to six months in prison and three years of supervised release, ordered to pay $1,282,247 in restitution to the USGA, and ordered to forfeit over $598,000 in fraudulent profits for participating in a conspiracy to steal and sell more than $1.2 million worth of U.S. Open Golf tournament tickets.
“In November 2021, the defendant pleaded guilty to multiple counts of fraud in connection with this ticket selling scheme,” the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement. “As part of his guilty plea, Bell admitted that he conspired with former United States Golf Association employee Robert Fryer (who was charged and convicted separately), to purchase from Fryer tickets to the 2017 through 2019 U.S. Open Golf Tournaments with a face value of over $1.2 million, which Fryer had stolen from the USGA. Bell admitted that he paid Fryer over $324,000 for the stolen tickets. Bell further admitted that he sold the tickets through Sherry’s Tickets for nearly $923,000, thus yielding a profit to Sherry’s of over $598,000.”
“This defendant’s actions are akin to a thief selling someone else’s property to make a quick buck,” said Special Agent in Charge Jacqueline Maguire. “The fraud at the center of this conspiracy took money from a legitimate business and earned this defendant a ticket to prison and a felony conviction to his name.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael S. Lowe.