Two guys allegedly ran a 'Hamilton' tickets Ponzi scheme that netted $81 million

Emma Hinchliffe
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Was anything more inevitable than a Hamilton Ponzi scheme? 

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged two men in New York with fraud on Friday for running an $81 million Ponzi scheme that promised to make money reselling tickets to the sold-out Broadway musical. 

The Ponzi masterminds, Joseph Meli and Matthew Harriton, allegedly promised 125 investors that they would make at least a 10 percent profit from a scheme to buy and resell tickets to Hamilton and other in-demand shows, including an Adele concert. 

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Instead, Meli and Harriton spent up to $2 million on jewelry, private school and camp tuition and gambling. Plus, they had to use at least $48 million to keep the Ponzi scheme going and pay off earlier investors. 

The Ponzi schemers even said they had an agreement with a Hamilton producer to buy 35,000 tickets to the show. Investors were told they would get their money back within eight months. 

The SEC filed a complaint on Friday, alleging the scheme went back at least to 2015. 

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“As alleged in our complaint, Meli and Harriton raised millions from investors by promising big profits from reselling tickets to A-list events when in reality they were moving investor money in a circle and creating a mirage of profitability,” Paul G. Levenson, director of the SEC’s Boston office, said in a statement

Investors were also promised they'd get 50 percent of any profits that were left over after everyone involved was repaid. 

The evidence suggests they engaged in speculation... 

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