NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Two men have been charged for their alleged complicity in Ponzi schemes that lured investors who believed they were investing in ticket business for popular concerts and Broadway shows.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Joseph Meli, 42, of Manhattan, and Steven Simmons, 48, of Wilton, Connecticut were arrested on conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud charges
“As alleged, while soliciting funds from investors for legitimate-sounding investments, Steven Simmons and Joseph Meli were in fact running Ponzi schemes. Meli allegedly made up out of whole cloth purported deals to buy Broadway tickets that he could later sell at a profit. But as alleged, Meli was just robbing Peter to pay Paul," Deputy U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said.
According to the DOJ, starting in November 2015, Simmons and Meli allegedly approached investors, claiming that funds would be used by their hedge fund to purchase event tickets that would then be resold at a profit. However, the government alleges that Simmons and Meli failed to invest the money as promised, but used the money to repay earlier investors, and for their own purposes.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said in a separate civil complaint against Meli that the Ponzi schemes led people in 13 states to invest $81 million. Simmons was not charged in the civil complaint.
According to Fox News, Meli's attornies denied the charges their client is facing. Simmons did not respond to a request for comment, Fox said. – Staff Writers