The Justice Department has charged two Philadelphia-area ticket brokers in connection with a multi-year, multimillion-dollar illegal ticket scheme related to the U.S. Open.
According to the department, Jeremi Michael Conaway, 46, of West Chester, Pa., and James Bell, 69, of Glen Mills, Pa., were charged with five separate counts of mail and wire fraud. The men allegedly conspired with a former USGA employee, Robert Fryer, who already pleaded guilty to similar charges. The scheme involved Fryer stealing U.S. Open tickets and selling them to Conaway and Bell, who in turn would sell the tickets through their own companies.
The USGA apparently had no knowledge of Fryer's scheme, which circumvented the association's 20-ticket limit. According to the DoJ, Fryer acquired thousands of tickets, which he then delivered to Conaway and Bell both in person and via mail.
Conaway worked with Fryer from the 2013 through 2019 tournaments, acquiring a total of 15,504 stolen tickets with a face value of $2.43 million. Bell worked with Fryer from 2017 through 2019, acquiring at least 7,000 stolen tickets with a face value of $1.28 million.
Both Conaway and Bell face maximum sentences of 100 years in prison, three years of probation and a $1.25 million fine. Both will be required to repay the USGA and forfeit the proceeds of their sales.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.