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Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney Props in Massive Ticket Scalping Scheme

Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney Props in Massive Ticket Scalping Scheme 1

Paul McCartney and other artists were used as unwitting props in an alleged scheme to scalp tickets to their concerts. (Photo: Getty)

Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Broadway productions like the award-winning musical Hamilton were unwitting props in an alleged ticket scalping Ponzi scheme by two New York men that netted more than $97 million, according to investigators.

Joseph Meli, 42, and Matthew Harriton, 52, were named in an amended complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lawsuit in federal District Court in Manhattan.

Meli’s mother, wife, and five companies he or Harriton controlled were also named as “relief” defendants. They allegedly received close to $2.6 million of investor funds.

The civil suit charges that Meli and Harriton raised the money from at least 138 investors in 17 states. They were promised returns as high as 10 percent and a share of the profits from reselling tickets above their face value to fans.

The lawsuit was initially filed in January when just 125 investors had been identified.

Meli and Steven Simmons, of Wilton, Conn, were initially named as defendants. They were accused of running a similar scheme to defraud people who thought they were investing in a hedge fund.

Meli and Simmons pleaded not guilty on Feb. 28. Harriton also has pleaded not guilty.

Among the events targeted by the men were a concert by UK singer Adele, and the Desert Trip festival last October in California. It featured Dylan, McCartney and the The Rolling Stones, according to the amended complaint.

Concerts for rock bands Metallica and Nine Inch Nails were also targeted according to court papers.

One investor was allegedly told by Meli that a company he controlled with Harriton was ready to spend $62.5 million on 250,000 tickets for the forthcoming Broadway play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

But the purchase was never made, according to the SEC.

Instead, about $59 million was used to repay other investors in a classic Ponzi scheme. Other funds were spent on gambling, jewelry, private school tuition and other items.

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