SEC Announces Fraud Charges in Ticket Resale Investment Scam
On April 29,2019, the SEC charged James Siniscalchi, a New York City man with continuing a previously charged scheme, stealing millions of dollars from investors who were allegedly falsely promised their funds would be used for the purchase and resale of tickets to Broadway shows and a sporting event.
According to the SEC’s complaint, James Siniscalchi, Chief Compliance Officer of a company that claimed to have special access to profitable and highly sought-after event tickets, knowingly misused investor money to benefit himself and his extended family. The SEC alleges that James Siniscalchi and his business partners rebranded businesses formerly run by his cousin, Joseph Meli, who ultimately settled to SEC fraud charges and pled guilty to securities fraud in a parallel criminal action, and that this rebranding was done with Joseph Meli’s knowledge and help.
In the wake of Joseph Meli’s arrest, James Siniscalchi and his business partners allegedly raised approximately $2.7 million net from investors. The investors were allegedly promised their money would be used only to purchase tickets to events including the Broadway shows Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Hello Dolly, and Bruce Springsteen on Broadway, and a professional boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor. In actuality, James Siniscalchi allegedly misused investor funds to benefit himself and Joseph Meli and his family. The SEC alleges that James Siniscalchi took steps to conceal from investors Joseph Meli’s involvement given the widely publicized civil and criminal cases that were then pending against Joseph Meli. In efforts to hide Jospeh Meli’s role, James Siniscalchi allegedly instructed staff not to include Joseph Meli on emails to investors, and referred to Joseph Meli as “Keyser Soze,” in reference to a fictional movie character from the movie The Usual Suspects who secretly operated as a crime kingpin.
The SEC’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, charges James Siniscalchi with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws (Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5(a) and (c) thereunder), and seeks a permanent injunction from future violations, disgorgement of allegedly ill-gotten gains, with interest, and financial penalties.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York today announced criminal charges against James Siniscalchi and Joseph Meli.
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