Industry News

FBI investigates ticketing fraud at University of Minnesota

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating allegations of fraud in the University of Minnesota’s athletics ticketing office.

The US college, whose American football stadium boasts an almost 51,000-capacity, carried out an internal audit that uncovered several discrepancies in the ticketing transaction records. Soon after, Brent Holck, the assistant athletic director of sales and services was fired.

The Duluth News Tribune website reported that athletics director Mark Coyle said: “Audit initiated an investigation into the matter that revealed a sophisticated scheme where tickets reported as unused and not paid for were, in fact, distributed and used. These discrepancies dated back to 2011.

“It’s important to note, this activity did not have any direct financial impact on fans. No fan lost a single dollar as a result of this activity.”

The University of Minnesota referred the case to the FBI because of “the sophistication of what they found,” spokesman Evan Lapiska said, according to Duluth News.

“They felt this one would be appropriate to pass on to somebody else on the outside to determine whether there was any criminal activity,” Lapiska said.

Holck, who was hired by the university in 2008, was paid a salary of $94,003 (€83,400/£73,000). During his time of employment, he created a Golden Ticket promotion for men’s basketball, whose average game attendance in the 2015-16 season was about 11,500, and ice hockey, whose game attendance averaged almost 9,600 last year, in which fans could use the same ticket for every home game as long as the team kept winning.

However, it has not been specified which sports might be linked to the alleged fraud. The investigation is on-going.

Image: Alexius Horatius