August 1, 2017 / 8:57 PM / 2 years ago

New York ticket broker pleads not guilty in 'Hamilton' Ponzi case

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York man has pleaded not guilty to wire fraud after being accused of running a $70 million Ponzi scheme involving the fake resale of tickets to premium events such as the Super Bowl, the U.S. Open tennis tournament and the Broadway smash “Hamilton.”

Jason Nissen, of Roslyn, entered his plea on Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein in Manhattan, after waiving a formal indictment, court records show.

Nissen, the chief executive of National Event Co, was accused of having since 2015 lured investors by promising to buy and resell tickets profitably, only to divert funds to enrich himself and repay earlier investors.

Prosecutors said their evidence included a videotape in which Nissen told executives at one of his victims, a Manhattan diamond wholesaler, that he was “borrowing from Peter to pay Paul” after being accused of running a Ponzi scheme.

Michael Bachner, a lawyer for Nissen, declined to comment on the plea. The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer.

Nissen was arrested in May, 14 years after getting caught selling tickets to students for a free Dave Matthews Band concert at the Queens, New York high school where he then taught math. He was fired in 2004.

The case against Nissen is one of at least two brought this year by U.S. authorities in Manhattan over alleged sham ticket sales to “Hamilton” and other high-demand events.

The case is U.S. v. Nissen, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 17-cr-00477.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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