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Family charged in Masters resale scheme

A Texas family has been charged with federal crimes for using stolen identities to obtain Masters golf tournament tickets, and reselling them for a profit.

The exact number of tickets the four defendants are alleged to have obtained is unclear, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Augusta.

According to the Associated Press news agency, court records state that between 2013 and 2017 the family used stolen IDs in an attempt to cheat the Masters’ ticketing lottery system, as well as evade Augusta National Golf Club’s rules permitting one application per person.

Stephen Michael Freeman was charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud as well as aggravated identity theft. His parents, Steven Lee Freeman and Diane Freeman, and a sister, Christine Oliverson, were also charged with conspiracy.

The AP reports that the four defendants bought mailing lists to obtain personal information and create fake accounts for Augusta National’s online ticket lottery, according to the court documents filed by federal prosecutors. Those accounts were submitted with email addresses controlled by Freeman and his relatives.

Following this, the family would request a change of address associated with the false accounts using “false driver licenses, false utility bills and false credit card statements in the identity of the fake user accounts” sent by mail, the court documents said.

In doing so, any Masters tickets won through the lottery would end up in their hands in order to “resell the tickets at a substantial profit,” the charging document said.

The office of U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine said in a news release that the charges carry potential penalties of up to 20 years in prison, as well as substantial fines.

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