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Ornstein pleads guilty to federal charges related to Super Bowl tickets

Mike Ornstein, a former league employee turned marketing agent, has pleaded guilty to federal charges related in part to the re-sale of Super Bowl tickets, according to Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Daily.

According to Mullen, Ornstein allegedly conspired to sell tickets that had been purchased “from people who, through the course of their employment, had obtained the tickets at face value.”  He also was charged with selling pieces of NFL jerseys which were falsely represented as being worn by NFL players in games.”

The counts in the federal case included mail fraud, wire fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property, and money laundering.

Mullen reports that the plea deal was struck in June 2010, and that Ornstein is awaiting sentencing. 

Ornstein has represented Saints running back Reggie Bush, and Yahoo! Sports previously has reported that Ornstein allegedly gave money and other benefits to Bush while he still was playing college football at USC.  As Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports points out via Twitter, former USC coach Pete Carroll arranged an internship for Bush with Ornstein.

More recently, Ornstein helped market the book written by the coach of last year’s Super Bowl, Sean Payton.

It’s the second time that Ornstein has been convicted on federal charges.  After the first incident, he continued to enjoy a close relationship with many key league figures.  Those relationships could be seriously tested if Ornstein’s plea deal includes providing information regarding the manner in which the tickets were obtained from people who had obtained Super Bowl tickets through the course of their employment at face value, or regarding any other information that Ornstein may have that could harm the interests of the league.

In many cases, the folks who have access to Super Bowl tickets at face value through their employment are folks are employed by the NFL or one of the 32 member franchises.

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8 Responses to “Ornstein pleads guilty to federal charges related to Super Bowl tickets”
  1. Chapnasty. says: Oct 5, 2010 10:21 AM

    Clearly this guy is quite the shady one but what does this say for websites like Stubhub? I mean they provide an arena for people who likely paid face value for tickets to sell them at a much higher price and take in an insane profit. I am just curious as to what the difference is?

  2. vacman says: Oct 5, 2010 10:39 AM

    wondering if Mike Tice is going to be charged….. he sold some of his alotted tickets to him and from others.

  3. Dayton Dolfan says: Oct 5, 2010 10:49 AM

    wow. mail fraud and wire fraud. what is the underlying offense? i dont get it. so what if he got tickets at face value and resold them. welcome to america. what to you think walmart, target, kroger and everyother retailer do? they buy crap from manufacturers and sell it at 200% or more mark up. this is the foundation of our economy. How much does a replica NFL jersey cost to manufacture? $5, $10 if that? NFL sells them for $89.

  4. Terry says: Oct 5, 2010 11:08 AM

    If you delve closer into Mike’s background you’ll find he was a major player in trying to bust the union years ago!

  5. Scott P says: Oct 5, 2010 11:27 AM

    Could he be any shadier? Is there a need for any further evidence or proof now that Bush and Carroll were equally shady and culpable for all that went down then and now at USC? Once a scumbag, always a scumbag (Ornstein). You’re judged by your associations (Carroll/Bush/USC).
    It just goes back to.. what feels like a pretty bad idea at the time PROBABLY IS A BAD IDEA.
    But Bush and Carroll likely don’t feel bad.. both skirted any real punishment by being able to leave the scene of the crime in plenty of time.

  6. Jonathan says: Oct 5, 2010 11:32 AM

    The case is 10-170 in the North District of Ohio for those interested. I think before everyone trashes the Saints and/or Sean Payton, you should definitely make a note that the offenses occurred between 1998 & 2006–so this isn’t recent stuff and is before Payton & his staff arrived in New Orleans.

  7. Jonathan says: Oct 5, 2010 12:31 PM

    He wasn’t selling superbowl tickets (or at least that’s not what he entered a plea to). He entered a guilty plea regarding the sale (or conspiracy to sell) game jerseys that were marketed as having been worn in a super bowl. Apparently that was all a lie and the jerseys were never worn in the super bowl. And he agreed to pay a $350,000 fine to the government in addition to whatever jail time he may or may not get. Ouch. Sentencing is in January of 2011.

  8. rick says: Oct 5, 2010 12:59 PM

    I find it ironic that the NFL advertises companies who scalp tickets taking them away from the fans at face value but, if anyone else sells tickets for a profit its a crime. The nfl advertises stubhub every week and they are nothing but professional scalpers! Hypacrits!!

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