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Ticket touts have fraud conviction appeal dismissed

Adam Webb of FanFair Alliance has hailed a landmark decision to dismiss an appeal against conviction from two ticket touts, who made at least £11m (€13m/$14.6m) via websites such as StubHub and Viagogo.

Peter Hunter and David Smith appealed against their February 2020 conviction for multiple counts of fraud. The pair had originally been found guilty of fraud and were sentenced to a total of six and a half years in prison at Leeds Crown Court. 

Hunter was sentenced to four years in prison, while Smith received 30 months. The pair had run their fraudulent businesses from May 2010 and 2017. Hunter and Smith traded as Ticket Wiz and BZZ and fraudulently traded tickets for concerts from artists such as Ed Sheeran and West End shows like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

The touts reportedly spent more than £4m on primary ticket sites between 2015 and 2017 and sold them on resale sites such as GetMeIn and Seatwave, as well as StubHub and Viagogo for £10.8m. GetMeIn and Seatwave have since been shut down.

In 2017, Hunter and Smith purchased more than 750 Ed Sheeran tickets in 2017 and sold them at inflated rates, despite knowing the customers could be potentially refused entry due to the singer banning resold tickets. 

The pair had been investigated and prosecuted by National Trading Standards, following a 2016 exploration into their practices by The Observer. 

Webb said of the decision: “This precedent-setting judgement will be a bitter blow for Hunter and Smith. But there will also be far-reaching ramifications for other touts, many of whom use similarly unlawful business methods to acquire tickets, and for websites like Viagogo and StubHub who depend on these suppliers for the bulk of their listings. 

“All in all, it’s a good day for music fans, and another nail in the coffin for those who profit from, support and invest in these deeply unethical practices.” 

Image: Muneeb Syed on Unsplash