Accused Super Bowl ticket swindler caught after being rude to teenage spa employee

Liz Roscher
A Georgia man who skipped town after allegedly swindling friends and family in a Super Bowl ticket scam has been caught after nearly six weeks on the run. (AP)
A Georgia man who skipped town after allegedly swindling friends and family in a Super Bowl ticket scam has been caught after nearly six weeks on the run. (AP)

Ketan Shah, the man who is accused of swindling family, friends, and even his own mother out of over $1 million in a Super Bowl ticket scam, has been caught in California. According to ABC News 10 in San Diego, Shah is in the process of being extradited to his home state of Georgia after he was rude to a teenage employee at a spa, who then called the police after Googling his name.

Rudeness led to Shah’s arrest

Shah skipped town about a month before the Super Bowl, telling his wife that he was having a midlife crisis, and had been on the run ever since. ABC News 10 reported that police trailed him though Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Nevada (specifically Las Vegas), but had been unable to catch up with him.

That changed when Shah came face-to-face with 19-year-old Pechanga Spa concierge David Halliday. Shah allegedly went to the Temecula spa with a female companion and started his visit by attempting to cut in line so he could be served before other customers. Halliday told ABC News 10 “Just from the offset, he seemed a bit different from the usual guests we have in the spa.”

Halliday thought Shah looked familiar, and his internal alarm bells started clanging even louder when Shah reportedly paid for his spa services with cash. So he Googled Shah’s name (he was using his real name while on the run), and called security once he saw stories about the ticket scam appear in the results. Hotel security brought in the local police, who then arrested Shah.

Alleged ticket scam brought in over $1 million

Shah wasn’t always a spa-frequenting fugitive. He owns a digital printing business in Gwinnett County, Georgia and until the scam was revealed, he was viewed as a “squeaky-clean” businessman. It’s that reputation that Shah may have traded on in the Super Bowl ticket scam he’s accused of running. He allegedly told people he was selling Super Bowl tickets, and then collected large deposits over a period of months from a dozen friends and family members. But the tickets were never delivered — because they didn’t exist.

One alleged victim, who is described by WSBTV as a friend of Shah’s, gave Shah $500,000 because he was led to believe he would be hosting an arena Super Bowl event. Shah’s own mother said she lost $36,000, but while she did contact the police, she did not press charges against her son. In all, he allegedly collected over $1 million.

Shah is married, and his wife told WSBTV that she hadn’t seen or heard from him since he skipped town in early January.

Yahoo Sports H/N: Deadspin

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