A Texas family has pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges after admitting to using stolen identities to obtain Masters golf tournament tickets and reselling them for a profit.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia announced on Monday that Stephen Michael Freeman agreed to a sentence of 36 months in federal prison and $157,494 in community restitution.
His parents, Steven Lee Freeman and Diane Freeman, have also agreed to pay $59,000 each in community restitution and will be subject to sentencing by the court, as will his sister Christine Oliverson.
The Freemans confessed in court that they purchased a mailing list and used its names and addresses to create several fake accounts in the August National Golf Club’s online lottery ticket system.
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.
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.
Bobby L. Christine, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, said: “These profiteering con artists thought they had succeeded in hijacking the Augusta National’s generous ticket lottery system to satisfy their own greed.
“The vigilance of the Augusta National staff and the investigative acumen of the FBI ferreted out the fraud, ensuring justice is served to these cheats for the federal crimes they committed.”