Schenectady brothers accused of selling fake Phish tix

Wednesday, October 9, 2013
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— Two Schenectady brothers were arrested in an alleged Craigslist scam to sell forged tickets to an upcoming Phish concert at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

Colonie police received a report from someone who had unknowingly purchased two forged tickets to the sold-out Oct. 23 concert for $200. The victim had seen the floor seat tickets advertised on Craigslist and met the seller Friday at Colonie Center to purchase them.

But the buyer had a gut feeling that something was off, said Lt. Robert Winn.

“The victim thought something was up just by the way the guy was acting,” he said. “They were initially going to meet in one place and then kept rescheduling for another place. And then there was the fact that he had five tickets available for this event that sold out really fast.”

The upcoming Phish show sold out in 45 minutes after going on sale Aug. 9, said Civic Center officials.

The forged tickets were full-page printouts that appeared to be from Ticketmaster.

The victim ended up calling Ticketmaster the day he bought the tickets, and read off a number next to the barcodes to see if they were legitimate. They weren’t, so he called the police.

Investigators from the Colonie Police Department said they contacted the seller Tuesday and made arrangements to purchase more tickets. They said they met two men in the parking lot of Colonie Center and purchased four forged concert tickets for $350.

Carlton A. Turner, 27, and Omar D. Turner, 25, were arrested after the transaction. Carlton Turner was involved in both transactions, according to police, and was charged with two counts each of third-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and petty larceny. Omar was involved only in the final transaction with police, investigators said, and was charged with one count each of third-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and petty larceny.

Police are uncertain where or how the brothers came into possession of the forgeries, but said there is a possibility other victims have not yet realized they bought phony tickets.

The ad on Craigslist has the subject line: “Phish 10/23 @ Glens Falls FLOOR SEATS 4SALE!!” The body text reads: “Hey I have 5 Floor tickets for the show on 23rd. These are awesome FLOOR seats and since I won’t be attending I’m trying to get my moneys worth so me and my family can go to a different show. Send me a email if your interested. No Lowballers please and I’m located near cross gates mall. Thanks- Greg”

Anyone who believes they were victimized by this scam should contact their local police department.

“This is a very rare case,” said Winn. “Usually, people don’t find out tickets are counterfeit until they show up to the event. We were fortunate that the victim was able to verify they were fake, because it helped us make the arrest. My main tip to people is buyer beware. If you’re buying anything from a non-authorized, unofficial seller, you run the risk of purchasing a counterfeit ticket.”

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