Jury finds alleged White Sox ticket scammer guilty

·2 min read

A jury returned a guilty verdict Wednesday for a man accused of wire fraud and money laundering in a scheme that federal prosecutors say ‘fleeced’ the White Sox out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in ticket sales.

Prosecutors alleged that for years, Bruce Lee, 35, owner of Chicago-based brokerage Great Tickets, would pass former White Sox ticket sales booth staffers James Costello and William O’Neil an envelope full of cash, and they would pass back an envelope of tickets that, using insider knowledge, he had fraudulently procured for free or at a heavy discount.

Lee would then sell the tickets on the online resale forum StubHub while the White Sox received nothing, prosecutors said.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly presided over the trial of Lee who was facing 11 counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. Costello and O’Neil previously pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate.

“This is a case about greed,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider earlier told the jury.

Meanwhile, Lee’s attorney, Nishay Sanan, said in an email he believes the jury “got it wrong” and said that Lee will “continue to fight” the conviction.

“They didn’t look at the evidence that the government presented,” Sanan wrote. “The evidence presented by the government was bleak at best.”

The indictment filed last year claims Lee earned more than $860,000 by selling nearly 35,000 tickets over four baseball seasons from 2016 to 2019.

In October 2018, a White Sox analyst noticed the large amount of tickets sold by Lee on Stub Hub at below face value, Schneider said. Officials suspected Lee had inside help and called the authorities.

In 2007, Lee pleaded guilty in Cook County court to a misdemeanor count of “selling tickets not in a box office” and was sentenced to a day in jail, records show.

On two other occasions in 2007 and 2008, he was charged with ticket-related offenses, but both cases were dropped.

Lee is slated for sentencing on Jan. 10.

rsobol@chicagotribune.com

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