Eastern Region Special Operations Unit investigation convicts fraudster of selling fake sports hospitality packages
A fraudster who made more than £75,000 selling fake hospitality packages for sports events including the Cricket World Cup in 2019, Royal Ascot and the British Grand Prix, has admitted fraud and money laundering offences.
Cemalettin Ortancil, 39, of Fermoy Road, Greenford, London, operated a website selling fake corporate packages for some of the UK’s biggest sporting events, often offering comparatively cheap deals to matches and races that were already sold out, or where tickets were only available through authorised sellers.
Victims would pay for the packages through Ortancil’s 'exaccessgroup' website and were unaware they had been defrauded until being contacted by ERSOU officers.
The fake packages included:
Two 24-person boxes at Edgbaston Cricket Ground for England versus India at the Cricket World Cup on 20 June 2019, charged at £21,600 and £10,065
An 18-person box at Old Trafford Cricket Ground for India versus Pakistan at the Cricket World Cup on 16 June 2019, charged at £10,746
Four 10-seat tables and one six-seat table at Lord’s Cricket Ground for England versus Australia at the Cricket World Cup on 25 June 2019, totalling £23,259
Two three-day hospitality packages for eight people at The British Grand Prix on 14 June 2019, totalling £7,200
A 10-person box on Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot on 20 June 2019, totalling £3,000
The total amount received for the packages was £76,137.
An examination of an associated bank account also revealed a further £58,167 paid into it online, which was then withdrawn as cash by Ortancil, which he subsequently admitted to concealing.
Ortancil admitted nine counts of fraud and two counts of concealing criminal property at a St Albans Magistrates’ Court hearing on Friday (9 April).
He was initially arrested in May 2019 as officers from ERSOU’s Criminal Finances Team followed enquiries that the website was being used to sell fake tickets to sports events. Investigators seized over £3,300 in cash from his home, and successfully restricted funds in a number of bank accounts while enquiries continued.
Investigator Tim Underhill, from ERSOU’s Criminal Finances Team, said: “Ortancil took advantage of the demand for tickets for these high-profile sporting events, particular during the Cricket World Cup in 2019, and was able to fraudulently earn significant sums through his website.
“The website was professionally presented, and often badged tickets as last minute or limited time deals, although they never existed and there was never any prospect of victims receiving what in some cases they had paid substantial amounts for.
"I would urge those looking to purchase tickets for events such as sports matches and music events to always check they are booking through an official channel, or authorised seller, to ensure they are legitimate. If a deal looks too good to be true, then it probably is.”
Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) enquiries are ongoing in relation to the cash seized at his address and within Ortancil‘s bank accounts.