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Five men on trial over Liverpool FC ticket scam

15th October 2015

Five men are alleged to have allowed two fraudsters, who have already admitted the scam, to use their bank accounts to receive money from unsuspecting victims.

Liverpool Crown Court was told the group allegedly withdrew money and passed it on to Craig O’Donoghue and Paul Murgatroyd from Anfield  who pleaded guilty to selling forged tickets between September 2014 and February of this year.

All of the accused deny the money laundering charges. 

Prosecutor Arthur Gibson went on to describe how The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) assessed and analysed the reports received through Action Fraud about the ticketing scam involving the selling website Craigslist. 

He said: “Tickets would be advertised on Craigslist. A customer would contact the number on the website and be given the bank details into which the price of the tickets was to be paid. Once the money was in the account it would be immediately withdrawn at an ATM using a cashcard.

“The only problem was that obviously sooner or later one or more of the customers would report the fraud, as a result of which the bank would be notified and the bank account closed.

“Thus the fraudsters could only use one bank account for a relatively short period of time before having to move on to another.”

Undercover investigation launched 

The reports were disseminated by the NFIB to Merseyside Police due to the high number of bank accounts located in the Merseyside area.

An undercover investigation was subsequently launched led by Detective Sergeant Robert Viney of Merseyside Police. 

Mr Gibson said: “The police were able to identify the bank accounts into which the victims were made, but not the organisers of the fraud. Accordingly they set up an operation whereby undercover officers sought to purchase tickets. As a result the suppliers of the forged tickets were identified as Paul Murgatroyd and Craig O’Donoghue”.

“When their homes were searched blank pro forma tickets belonging to LFC, printers and other items used in the fraud were discovered.”

All of the five men accept their accounts were used to convert criminal property, but deny they knew what the fraudsters were up to.

How to protect yourself from buying a fake ticket

  • Always check with the event organiser for official ticket distribution lists and never buy from unauthorised sources, particularly though social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Craigslist, Gumtree etc
  • Pay for tickets by credit card – the card issuer is jointly liable for a failure for goods or services to be provided as long as the price of a single ticket is over than £100.
  • Only make purchase from sites encrypted for payment. Look for the closed padlock and the web address in the browser should begin “https”.
  • If you are unsure about a website, run a quick online search and check ticketing forums to find feedback from others.
  • Be on the Lookout for telephone numbers starting 070 or 004470. These can be set-up on the Internet and answered anywhere in the world.          
  • Always check sellers’ privacy policy and returns policy.

For further information please visit the Liverpool Echo website.

Please note that Action Fraud is not responsible for the content of external websites.

To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.

You can now also sign up for free to Action Fraud Alert to receive direct, verified, accurate information about scams and fraud in your area by email, recorded voice and text message.