In December, the National Football League’s security division informed the New York Police Department of a counterfeit ticket operation in the city. Over the next two months, an undercover officer purchased multiple sets of fake tickets from two men in Queens who offered passes to a regular season game in Maryland, a wildcard playoff game in Philadelphia, a divisional playoff game in Massachusetts, the Super Bowl in New Jersey, and Super Bowl-week parties in New York City.
On Monday, police arrested 43-year-old Damon Daniels and 32-year-old Eugene Fladger for the scheme. Prosecutors charged the men with forgery and counterfeiting.
“These two criminals conspired to produce and distribute high quality counterfeit tickets for various events including the Super Bowl and peddled them not only on the streets of New York City but also on the internet and across the country,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement on Tuesday.
According to prosecutors, the undercover officer first purchased tickets from the pair on December 18. He met with Fladger in Astoria to purchase four lower-level seats at FedEx Field for a game between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys on the 22nd. The tickets showed a $175 face value, and the officer agreed to buy them for $1,200.
Police, who had been tailing Fladger and Daniels that day, observed the two men meet in the Bronx less than an hour before the rendezvous with the officer, according to prosecutors–“Daniels handed something to Fladger” and then they drove off for Queens separately.
The sequence was similar a few weeks later, on January 2. Prosecutors allege that Daniels gave Fladger the tickets in the Bronx, before Fladger met with the undercover in Queens. This time, the transaction was six tickets to the New Orleans Saints-Philadelphia Eagles wildcard playoff game on January 4 plus four tickets to the New England Patriots-Indianapolis Colts divisional playoff game on January 10 for $1,200. Parking passes were included in the deal.
When police arrested Daniels and Fladger on Monday, they confiscated 34 tickets to the Super Bowl, eight parking passes for the game, 12 tickets to the NFL Honors Party at Radio City Music Hall, and three more to the NFL Commissioner’s Party at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, as well as 69 “other tickets to various events,” according to prosecutors.
The only signs of forgery: “washed out” printing, a misprint on the back, misaligned cutting around the sides, and the absence of “various security features.”
At the Springfield Gardens apartment of Daniels’s girlfriend, police found “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 D.A.’s office said in a statement
Daniels allegedly told law enforcement officials that he made the tickets at a Kinko’s in Manhattan.
The charges against Daniels and Fladger include 79 counts each of second-degree forgery, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, and second-degree trademark counterfeiting. In all, the charges carry a maximum prison sentence of seven years.
“Individuals who bought tickets or passes through the internet may be in for a rude awakening on game day,” said Brown.