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Man sentenced after pleading guilty for operating fraudulent ticket scam

NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that Joseph Gatt, age 75, a citizen of Canada and Malta, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Greg G. Guidry to one year of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release and payment of a $100 special assessment fee, after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud for operating a long-term fraudulent ticket scam targeting multiple New Orleans residents. Gatt was previously arrested on July 26, 2020, in Los Angeles, California, while trying to reenter the country. Although Gatt was indicted in June 2018, the ten-count indictment against him was unsealed only after Gatt was taken into custody. Judge Guidry also ordered Gatt to repay his victims more than $95,000; he is also subject to deportation.

According to court documents, between about 2009 and October 2014, Gatt resided in the New Orleans area. He purported to sell tickets to spectator professional sporting events, including Union of European Associations (UEFA) Champions League and Federation Internationale De Futbol Association (FIFA) World Cup matches. Specifically, Gatt falsely claimed to have connections with FIFA and, through those connections, could purchase tickets to World Cup games at or below face value before the tickets went on sale to the general public. Gatt sought investors for his fraudulent business enterprise in which he claimed to be able to purchase World Cup tickets at face value and then sell them at a higher price to individuals and groups who wished to attend the games. Gatt recruited individuals, including Investors A, B, and C, to enter into a fraudulent business arrangement in which they would give him money to purchase tickets and then split the resulting profits. In total, Investors A, B, and C gave Gatt over $95,000. In fact, Gatt used the money for personal purchases.

When confronted, Gatt wrote investors checks, ostensibly as repayment for the investments, when he knew that the account on which the checks were drawn had insufficient funds to cover the checks. Gatt took other steps to disguise his scheme, make his enterprise appear legitimate, conceal the true purpose of his scheme, and dissuade Investors from reporting Gatt to law enforcement authorities, including blaming his failure to repay the investors on delays caused by financial institutions and Gatt himself having been defrauded.

U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the United States Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg, Chief of the Public Corruption Unit, was charge of the prosecution.

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