It’s 2019 and one #Georgia man is still living by the motto, “scam the day before the day scams you.” The only downside is that when you pull off a scam worth nearly $1 million, chances are the feds will come looking for you.
About a dozen people, including the scammer’s mother, are accusing #GwinnettCounty, Georgia, businessman #KetanShah of taking off with their money after he sold them #SuperBowl tickets that he never delivered, @wsbtv reported. Shah’s wife says she hasn’t seen her husband since she reported him missing in early January and now authorities are looking for him.
Alan Tartt, one of the people accusing Shah, said Shah took off with his $20,000 and never gave him the premium Super Bowl tickets he promised. “It’s just crazy, mind-blowing,” Tartt said of Shah, who was known to have a “squeaky-clean” business reputation. “Everything seemed legit.”
Tartt and two others told police they started making $5,000 payments to Shah as regular deposits on $20,000 worth of tickets. But when it came time to meet late this month, Tartt said he couldn’t find Shah. He went to Sandy Springs police, the FBI and his bank to file reports.
Records show Shah’s mother also contacted police, saying she’d lost $36,000 in the scam, but declined to press charges on her son. Four other metro Atlanta men filed one theft by deception report on Shah, citing similar lost amounts in ticket purchases.
“It was a similar promise to all the other people who bought tickets,” said Minish Shah, who is not related to the suspect but knows him well through the community. “One hundred level seating with access to the concierge lounge and a few pre-parties. I find the whole situation kind of bizarre, and hopefully, there will be some kind of logical explanation.”
Another Duluth man and his brother-in-law from Ohio also said they’d paid $20,000 and never received tickets. An Alpharetta man reported a similar experience to police.
But the biggest loss recorded was a $500,000 payment made to Shah by a friend and businessman in Columbus, Georgia, who said Shah promised tickets and a chance to host an arena Super Bowl event.
“Right now, what we know of is just slightly over three quarters of a million dollars scammed out for Super Bowl-related stuff,” said Cpl. Wilbert Rundles, a Gwinnett County police spokesperson.
“It’s not that he posted some ad and random people are contacting this guy for tickets and being scammed,” Rundles continued. “He’s known these people for many years. One of them, he’s known his whole life because it’s his own mother, and he’s taken advantage of them.”
Police records show Shah’s wife told authorities that her husband had recently taken out a half-million dollar loan against the business without her knowledge. She also told police she knew nothing of the alleged ticket scam.
According to those records, Shah’s family believes he traveled to Las Vegas at some point, as part of a midlife crisis, but it’s unclear where he could be now. Gwinnett investigators said they want to hear his side of this story, especially if the tickets are not delivered by Super Bowl Sunday.
“We’d certainly like to get his side and see if there’s something more … some trouble that he’s been in,” Rundles said. “It’s a very odd situation that you would take people this close to you and scam this kind of money — any money — but especially this large of an amount, and then just disappear.”
Whew chile! We’ll keep you updated on this one, #Roommates!