NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that JOSEPH GATT, age 75, a citizen of Canada and Malta, was arrested on July 26, 2020, in Los Angeles, California after previously being indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in the Eastern District of Louisiana with ten counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. ” 1343, for conducting a lengthy scam related to the sale of sporting event tickets. Although GATT was indicted in June 2018, the indictment was unsealed only after GATT was taken into custody.
According to the indictment, 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 Investor A and Investor B, to enter into a fraudulent business arrangement in which they would give him money to purchase tickets and then split the resulting profits. Together, Investor A and Investor B gave GATT over $52,000. 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.
If convicted, GATT faces a maximum term of twenty (20) years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000.00, up to three (3) years of supervised release after imprisonment, and a mandatory $100 special assessment per count.
U. S. Attorney Strasser reiterated that an indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
U.S. Attorney Strasser praised the work of the United States Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg, Supervisor of the Public Corruption Unit, is in charge of the prosecution.