UK News Pressure mounts to charge Scots ticker supertout after landmark court ruling

06:50  15 february  2020
06:50  15 february  2020 Source:   msn.com

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a man standing in front of a window: Andre Newman (right) © Daily Record Andre Newman (right)

Authorities in Scotland are under huge pressure to bust Scotland’s worst supertout after a landmark court ruling against two London counterparts.

Andrew Newman used many identical tactics to Peter Hunter and David Smith, who face jail after their £11million scam was busted.

The Record can reveal MP Pete Wishart has written to Trading Standards Scotland (TSS) to demand action after they decided against bringing charges on Newman, who ruthlessly attacked ticketing systems with a host of different “friends and family” identities and credit cards.

The case brought by National Trading Standards at Leeds Crown Court on Thursday shows that millionaire touts such as Newman can be prosecuted under the Companies Act.

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Pete Wishart wearing a suit and tie: Pete Wishart has written to Trading Standards Scotland © Perthshire Picture Agency Pete Wishart has written to Trading Standards Scotland

Police in Scotland and the rest of the UK could bring their own charges against big touts after the Leeds trail set a legal benchmark.

Wishart, who has championed the fight against touts in the Commons, said: “The ticket touts have had it their own way for far too long and I am glad to see their grubby practices finally being called out for what they are – fraud.

“In Scotland, we have our own particular problem with a mega-tout who is making a great deal of cash by locking ordinary fans out of the ticket market.

“I will be raising this particular case again with Trading Standards Scotland to see if they can investigate those in Scotland who are buying up vast quantities of tickets using multiple credit cards.

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“Between TSS, the Crown and Police Scotland, there must lie a means of gaining justice for the many thousands of Scots who have been ripped off by these millionaire ticket touts.”

At Leeds Crown Court on Thursday, Hunter and Smith, both of London, were found guilty of four charges that cover a wide range of scams.

The pair were fraudulently using multiple credit cards in names other than their secondary sales company BZZ – a favoured tactic of Newman and most other big touts – enabling them to break ticket limits and deny real fans the chance to get briefs.

Hunter and Smith were also using optimised, superfast servers like Insomniac to automate the buying process for masses of cards. And they were fraudulently “spec selling” tickets that BZZ did not even own.

The crooks were selling tickets by acts like Ed Sheeran, despite the artist banning resold tickets from entry –another slam-dunk fraud.

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At court, Hunter and Smith were labelled “dishonest fraudsters motivated by greed”.

Newman started off as a geeky student buying tickets for WWF wrestling shows before he realised he could make cash by using his mum Carole and dad Gary’s credit cards to bag more briefs for selling them on.

Cards in the name of brother Chris and his wife Laura were used as well as those in the names of friends who became employees.

The Record has seen evidence of hundreds of sales happening in a few minutes with those names in various forms in different cards – which may all now, if the Leeds case is followed, be freely interpreted as fraud under the Companies Act.

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Ultra secretive Newman banked more than £3million in profit in a few years.

The Record has told how he targeted acts like Deacon Blue, Still Game and Bay City Rollers, when the ageing rockers were trying to recoup some of the cash they were defrauded of by industry parasites in the 70s.

a man smiling for the camera: Internet ticket tout David Smith was found guilty of fraud © Ben Lack Photography Ltd Internet ticket tout David Smith was found guilty of fraud

Late Rollers founder Alan Longmuir contacted the Record to ask where Newman could be found, as he wanted to confront him over the shameful targeting of the band’s gigs.

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Newman moved out of his small flat in Linlithgow to a £1million gated mansion in West Calder with German fiancee Mel Rein.

It is understood that, after the arrests of Hunter and Smith, Newman stopped using the cards of other people but still managed to obtain tickets for shows with just a card of his own.

The Leeds case has made it clear that businesses that sneakily hoover up tickets and reduce the supply for real punters are committing fraud.

In April, 2017, we told how Newman’s “Family Fortunes” played out – with cards belonging to family and friends being spun through ticketing systems in the racket.

Ticketing investigator Reg Walker, of the Iridium Consultancy, said Newman is in the “Premier League” of touts.

He said: “There was an expectation in many quarters that Trading Standards Scotland would bring parallel proceedings against Newman when Hunter and Smith were being dealt with. I cannot imagine any reason that might be given for failing to act now.

a man wearing glasses talking on a cell phone: Peter Hunter was branded a 'dishonest fraudster' © Ben Lack Photography Ltd Peter Hunter was branded a 'dishonest fraudster'

“He should be among a raft of prosecutions and we should also be looking at the Proceeds of Crime Act

and potential forfeiture of any assets accumulated by their years of ripping off consumers.”

Walker added: “The Leeds verdict means many tickets sold through resale platforms like StubHub and Viagogo were acquired unlawfully and these companies may be reasonably suspected of benefiting from the proceeds of crime.”

A spokesman for TSS said the Leeds case would be considered in weighing up future prosecutions.

He said: “We welcome the decision at Leeds Crown Court in relation to the sales of secondary tickets. It is important that consumers can buy tickets in this market sure that they will gain entry to the event and get the seat they expect.

“We continue to monitor this market for issues that disadvantage consumers and this decision and the legal points that have arisen will be used in future decision making on whether to pursue enforcement action.”

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