Ed Sheeran

A woman who ran a multi-million pound ticket touting operation which bought and re-sold tickets at an “industrial scale” has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Maria Chenery-Woods ran TQ Tickets Limited, which used over 100 identities to buy tickets for acts including Ed Sheeran and Lady Gaga and re-sell them at inflated prices on secondary ticketing sites such as Viagogo. TQ Tickets sold £6.5million worth of gig tickets between 2015 and 2017, but this does not include the hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of unsold tickets that trading standards officers found when they raided its offices in Dickleburgh, Norfolk.

Judge Simon Batiste said Chenery-Woods acted “out of greed” and aimed to “rinse or fleece customers out of as much money as you could”.

He went on to explain that TQ Tickets used a file of more than 100 identities to buy tickets from primary selling sites like Ticketmaster. Some of these identities were a 10-year-old child, a dead relative and others that were completely fake.

Judge Batiste added that the firm “created a web of criminality” as they “corrupted” students students and other young people into buying tickets for them.

“Some secondary ticketing sites and, indeed, possibly some primary sites, were complicit in what you were doing. But that provides no mitigation,” he added.

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga. Credit: Jackson Lee/Getty

Chenery-Woods’ employee Paul Douglas was also jailed for two years and five months. Her husband, Mark Woods, and her sister, Lynda Chenery – who is also Douglas’s ex-wife – were handed suspended prison sentences for their roles in the fraudulent company.

Sheeran’s manager Stuart Camp and promoter Stuart Galbraith gave statements during the trial, discussing the “extensive measures” taken to prevent re-sellers putting tickets back on the market at inflated prices.

Following the verdicts, Mr Galbraith said: “Today’s verdict is good news for live music fans, who are too often ripped off and exploited by greedy ticket touts.”

Meanwhile, Lord Michael Bichard, chairman of National Trading Standards, said the sentencing was “another significant milestone in our work to combat online ticket touts”.

In other Ed Sheeran, the artist played a surprise live set at a primary school in Brighton last week.

The post Ed Sheeran and Lady Gaga ticket tout sentenced to four years in prison appeared first on NME.


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