In a case of insider theft, federal prosecutors charged a former U.S. Golf Association employee with stealing more than $3.4 million in U.S. Open tickets, reselling them for a profit.
Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Robert Fryer, 39, of Perkasie, PA, was charged by Information with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, four counts of mail fraud, and 10 counts of wire fraud related to a scheme to embezzle and pocket fraudulent proceeds from the unauthorized sale of United States Open Championship (“U.S. Open”) tickets, one of four major championships for golf.
In the filing, prosecutors say Fryer was employed by the United States Golf Association (“USGA”) in its Admissions Office. Beginning in advance of the 2013 U.S. Open held at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, PA, and continuing through the 2019 U.S. Open held at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, CA, Fryer allegedly abused his position in the USGA Admissions Office in order to steal more than 23,000 U.S. Open admission tickets, all without the knowledge and consent of the USGA. The defendant then sold those stolen tickets to third-party ticket brokers in return for payments totaling more than $1 million, which was paid to Fryer mostly in the form of cash and PayPal transfers. According to the Information, the face value of the tickets that the defendant stole was more the $3 million.
“Robert Fryer allegedly engaged in a years-long scheme to steal and sell thousands of U.S. Open tickets,” said Bradley S. Benavides, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division in a statement. “Fraud is simply not the answer, if you feel your paycheck isn’t up to par. The FBI takes seriously allegations of embezzlement and fraud and will investigate anyone engaged in this sort of criminal behavior.”
Fryer faces a maximum sentence 300 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $3,750,000 fine, and a $1,500 special assessment. In addition, if convicted, Fryer will be required to pay restitution to the USGA and forfeit the proceeds he obtained as a result of his fraud.