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Business Observer Monday, Jun. 14, 2021 1 year ago

Arkansas man charged in multimillion-dollar area event ticket scam

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Federal grand jury has indicted a 52-year-old man for wire fraud after F.B.I. and the U.S. Dept. of Treasury investigation

ST. PETERSBURG — A federal grand jury has indicted a 52-year-old man on two counts of wire fraud after an investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Inspector General’s office alleged he defrauded investors.

Thomas Coelho, who lived in the St. Petersburg area when the alleged crimes occurred, faces 40 years in prison and a forfeiture of at least $1.8 million if convicted. Coelho was previously known as Thomas Jurewicz, according to a statement. 

Coelho, the indictment alleges, recruited investors by telling them he had access to buy event tickets and then reselling them at a profit. He would allegedly promise exorbitant returns and then demanded up-front payments so the investors could participate in the “business opportunity.”

Coelho also used his relationships with people and companies in the entertainment industry to give the impression he had the “means and ability to acquire tickets to certain high-profile events,” according to the indictment.

The indictment goes on to allege that he would then provide the investors with “false and fraudulent financial records” while encouraging them to reinvest profits that didn’t exist.

Instead, he used the money investors gave him for cash withdrawals, personal expenses and entertainment. 

Coelho was arrested April 28 in Little Rock, Arkansas and is free on bond, according to court records. A federal public defender was appointed to represent Coelho. The indictment was filed April 1, but the records were sealed. In the request to seal the case, acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District Karin Hoppmann argued that releasing the information could “hinder or impede arrest efforts.”

It is not clear in court records when the case was unsealed, but the U.S. Attorney’s office sent a press release June 11 announcing the indictment.

Coelho's trial is scheduled to begin in August.

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