Two men have been charged with running a counterfeit operation in Queens and elsewhere, allegedly manufacturing and selling tickets to the Super Bowl and NFL playoff games, District Attorney Richard Brown and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced Tuesday.
The pair is accused of peddling the forged tickets to individuals on the streets of New York as well as across the country through the Internet.
They were also allegedly selling fake Super Bowl tickets to the NFL Commissioner’s Party at the Waldolf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, the NFL Honors Party at Radio City Music Hall, and parking passes close to New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium where the Super Bowl is being played Sunday.
“The defendants are charged with not only running a lucrative illegal operation that allegedly ripped off the National Football League and sports fans alike by manufacturing well-crafted counterfeit tickets using state-of-the art equipment but creating a security nightmare for the NFL and the vast army of local, state and federal enforcement law agencies handling security operations at this Sunday’s Super Bowl by allegedly selling fraudulent parking passes to the MetLife parking facilities. Beyond that, individuals who bought tickets or passes through the Internet may be in for a rude awakening on game day,” Brown said.
Damon Daniels, 43, of the Bronx and Jamaica, Queens, and Eugene Fladger, 32, of Philadelphia are presently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on charges of forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument, criminal possession of a forgery devices, criminal possession of computer-related material, trademark counterfeiting and conspiracy, according to Brown. If convicted, they each face up to seven years in prison.
Their arrests come following an investigation that began in December 2013 when the NFL’s Security Division notified the NYPD’s Organized Crime Investigation Division of an alleged counterfeit football ticket production operation, the district attorney said.
During the investigation, Daniels and Fladger were allegedly observed getting together right before an undercover officer, posing as a ticket buyer, met with Fladger in Queens, and bought tickets from him, Brown said.
The investigation also led to a search of Daniels’ girlfriend’s Jamaica apartment, where, according to prosecutors, police recovered a computer, a printer, a package of photo-grade paper, two tickets to the Super Bowl printed on the same photo-grade paper and a bag of half ripped, incomplete, first draft tickets which appeared to be printed on normal stock paper.
The fake tickets allegedly bore the official NFL logo and a bar code designed to be a replication of computer data that had been duplicated in order to fool stadium scanners, Brown said. The tickets, however, allegedly had defects— the printing on the tickets was washed out, there was a misprint on the back, the cutting of the tickets was not properly aligned, and various security features were missing. The parking passes and party tickets also allegedly featured washed-out printing and were not properly aligned.