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The Two Men Who Allegedly Ran An $81 Million ‘Hamilton’ Ticket Ponzi Scheme Get A Plea Deal

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Back in Hamilton‘s prime, when Lin-Manuel Miranda and the rest of the original cast were still performing in the show, it was nearly impossible to get tickets to the Broadway smash. A couple of people decided they would take advantage of this potentially lucrative situation, and lucrative is was: On January 27, Joseph Meli and Steven Simmons were arrested and charged with securities fraud, conspiracy and wire fraud, for their alleged role in an $81 million Ponzi scheme involving the scalping of Hamilton tickets.

Now, nine months later, Meli has accepted a plea deal that only has him pleading guilty to one count of securities fraud, Billboard reports. This comes just after Meli accused the government of misconduct during its pre-indictment investigation.

A court document in which “Meli sought to suppress statements he claimed were elicited by a government confidential informant” says that the government sent an informant “to surreptitiously record Mr. Meli outside the presence of the legal counsel that Mr. Meli had retained in connection with the Government’s investigation” and attempted “to lure Mr. Meli into isolation so that he could be questioned outside the presence of his counsel and without the benefit of legal advice.”

Meli’s lawyer, by the way, is a familiar face: Marc Kasowitz, who is formerly President Trump’s personal attorney.

All of this means that instead of facing a sentence of up to 20 years for securities fraud, in light of his plea agreement, Meli could be sentenced to as little as 78 months. That’s still six-and-a-half years, but considering how much money was at stake in this whole ordeal, it seems like Meli may have lucked out.

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