Two men made high-quality counterfeit tickets for the Super Bowl and other postseason NFL games and sold them online, authorities in New York said on Tuesday, five days before tens of thousands of fans pack into a stadium across the river in New Jersey for the game.
Damon Daniels, 43, of New York, and Eugene Fladger, 32, of Philadelphia, were awaiting arraignment Tuesday in Queens Criminal Court following their arrests Monday on forgery, possession of forged instruments and other trademark counterfeit charges. Attorney information wasn't immediately available.
Police recovered 59 counterfeit tickets at Daniels' Queens apartment Monday, including 36 Super Bowl tickets, eight stadium parking passes, 12 tickets to the NFL Honors Party at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan and three tickets to the NFL Commissioner's Party at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, said NYPD Lt. Chris Fasano, who headed the investigation following a tip from NFL's security division last month.
Fasano said the quality of the tickets was "very good" and the average person wouldn't know they were fakes. He said they made the arrests this week after their investigation led them to believe the majority of the counterfeit tickets were going to be sold this week.
About 40 counterfeit tickets, including 20 for the Super Bowl, were either purchased or arranged to be purchased by law enforcement over the course of the roughly six-week investigation, he said.
All of the tickets were emblazoned with the NFL logo and included a bar code designed to gain entry when scanned at stadiums, prosecutors said. Police said that the men sold the tickets using Craigslist and then shipped them via FedEx, getting payments through Western Union.
An NFL spokesman said fans who don't buy tickets directly from the NFL or a team should beware of what they get.
In all, an undercover investigator made two separate purchases from the men, authorities said.
The undercover spent $1,200 for eight counterfeit tickets with a face value of $175 each to the Dec. 22 game between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys in Landover, Md., police said. The officer then spent another $1,200 for six tickets and a parking pass to the NFC Wild Card game in Philadelphia valued at $130 each and four tickets valued at $230 each plus a parking pass to the AFC divisional round playoff game in Foxborough, Mass.
Tickets to various events such as New York Rangers hockey games and Billy Joel concerts were also recovered, he said.
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Fasano and Dt. Gerard McNally, both assigned to the department's Organized Crime Investigation Division, said the two men didn't appear to have a connection to any organized crime operation but each had arrest histories for counterfeiting tickets and scalping.