Ticket scammers jailed

By | Published on Wednesday 13 July 2011

Music Festivals

Three men were jailed yesterday, one for eight years, for running a ticket scam believed to have taken over £5 million for tickets that didn’t exist.

Terence Shepherd, Alan Scott and Allan Schaverien ran various companies under the Xclusive banner, which operated websites that claimed to be able to provide hard-to-get tickets for sold out sports and music events, in particular the 2008 Beijing Olympics and various music festivals. In 2008, it is thought that over 5000 people bought tickets via Xclusive websites, none of which were provided, and none of whom received refunds. As customers and the authorities started to become wise to the three defendant’s activities, some of the fraudulent operations were transferred to a different company.

During a seven week trial, the court heard how Xclusive’s activities not only ripped off their customers financially, but in some cases caused other distress, particularly as some family members of Olympic competitors had bought tickets for the Beijing games via their website. The mother of gold medal winning Rebecca Adlington told the court of her “devastation” after she realised she would not be able to see her daughter compete, having thought she’d booked tickets via Xclusive.

Having been found guilty last week, on Monday Shephard was sentenced to eight years in jail while Scott got seven years. Both were banned from being company directors for fifteen and ten years respectively. Schaverien, who pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting fraudulent trading prior to the trial, was sentenced for two years and eight months.

Passing sentence, Judge Martin Beddoe described the fraud as “a massive, cynical and utterly dishonest confidence trick which was motivated by greed”. Meanwhile Richard Alderman of the Serious Fraud Office told reporters: “Xclusive was a sham that not only cost a lot of people their hard-earned money, but dashed their dreams. I am very pleased that justice has been done. Now we shall do our best to get the money back for the victims”.

Warning ticket buyers of other possible scammers, Sergeant Torsten Mansson, who worked with the SFO on the case, added: “With the summer music festival season upon us and Olympics fast approaching it is important to highlight the need to use only official ticket sites”.