Ticket Resale Con Man Used HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD to Steal $7.9 Million
According to Law360, Joseph Meli and Advance Entertainment LLC are again headed to court on fraud charges. Previously accused of swindling investors out of $81 million with the promise of HAMILTON resale tickets, the company has used similar promises to pull $7.9 million on claims of profits from the upcoming Broadway run of HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD.
Meli allegedly approached two friends, Fredrik Nielsen and Michael Connor, and offered an investment opportunity. He claimed that he would use their money to purchase 250,000 tickets to HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, which he would then resell for profit thus recouping the investment.
After being wired almost $8 million in investment funds, however, Meli was hit with the suit regarding his HAMILTON scheme, and Nielsen and Connor began to fear for their funds.
The accounts of Meli and his associate Matthew Harriton were frozen by court order when it was discovered that their promise to purchase and resell 35,000 HAMILTON tickets was allegedly nothing more than a pyramid scheme. Out of $81 million raised for the plan, only $9 million was used to purchase tickets, while the rest was used to pay previous investors. An additional $2 million was spent on personal business such as casino payments and private school tuitions.
Meli and another man, Stephen Simmons are currently fighting criminal charges for fraud in the case of the HAMILTON scheme. Nielsen and Connor have brought suit for fraud as well.
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage, began previews in June of 2016 in London's West End at the Palace Theatre. It had its official opening on Saturday, July 30th.
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD is a new play by Jack Thorne, directed by John Tiffanywith movement by Steven Hoggett, set by Christine Jones, costumes by Katrina Lindsay, music & arrangements by Imogen Heap, lighting by Neil Austin, sound by Gareth Fry, illusions & magic by Jamie Harrison, music supervision & arrangements by Martin Lowe and casting byJulia Horan.
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD is one play presented in two parts. Both parts are intended to be seen in order on the same day (matinee and evening) or on two consecutive evenings.
Read the full Law360 article here.