(NEW YORK) — A Texas family is accused of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in a scheme to re-sell tickets to the annual Masters golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, the Department of Justice said.
The indictment, unsealed in the Southern District of Georgia on Tuesday details a pattern from 2013 to 2017 in which Steven and Diane Freeman and their children Christine Oliverson and Stephen M. Freeman took steps to defraud the prestigious golf tournament’s through its selective ticketing system.
According to the indictment, tickets are distributed in a lottery after information is submitted on the Augusta National Incorporated website and only one account per household is allowed.
Prosecutors allege that the family “defrauded ANI by creating false user accounts in order to purchase spectator tickets to attend the Masters Golf Tournament held annually in Augusta, Georgia.” They went on to say, the family was hoping to “re-sell the tickets at a substantial profit.
The government alleges that the family created “false user accounts by purchasing mailing lists that included the actual names and addresses of individuals who did not grant their authority or permission for the creation of these accounts,” the charging document says. They also created fake IDs, utility bills and credit card statements to go with fake accounts, and mail them to Augusta for a change of address, the prosecutors said.
They also purchased emails, “in bulk” to use to register online, authorities said.
The government says the family created a document in which they could all see information pertaining to the scheme at the same time.
“Mom, this links to a document that we can all see at once. this is how chrissy requested i send her the info,” reads an email included in the indictment allegedly sent by Stephen M. Freeman. “we’ll see how this works. i found a fairly basic utility bill in NY state. the link to the bill is on the document along with the changes that need to be made,” the email reads.
Stephen Michael Freeman is also charged with identity theft.
If convicted, each member of the family could face up to 20 years in prison.
No attorneys for the family members were listed in court records.
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