Sunday, October 21, 2018
News Roundup

University of Tampa student facing federal charge in StubHub scam

TAMPA — University of Tampa student Sachin Kumar lived it up a little in 2013. His Facebook page shows trips to India, Dubai, Chicago, Miami and his home state of New York.

Though he griped about tuition costs, he boasted of a leather couch and a 55-inch TV.

"Life is good," he wrote.

But federal court records suggest Kumar enriched himself that year by selling fraudulent events tickets over the Internet sales platform StubHub, using accounts set up in at least one fictitious name: "Lester Salmon."

Kumar, now 22, collected $49,121, and StubHub spent $172,047 furnishing victims of the scam with replacement tickets, according to a plea agreement Kumar signed. Had all tickets sold, he could have netted $279,949, the record states.

Attorney Mark O'Brien, who represents Kumar, said others were involved and his client got only a portion of the proceeds.

Kumar is the only participant the government has charged.

StubHub, which guarantees that sellers will be paid and that buyers will get tickets comparable to those promised, did not answer requests for comment.

O'Brien said Kumar regrets his "youthful indiscretion." He was 19 years old in January and February of 2013, dates singled out in the formal charge.

"He has since accepted responsibility for his actions and agreed to pay restitution," O'Brien said. "Mr. Kumar now awaits his fate at sentencing and hopes to be afforded the opportunity to finish his last semester of college and move forward with his life."

By an oddity of circumstances, Kumar has yet to face a federal judge, though his plea agreement is dated Oct. 8.

It wasn't filed until Jan. 6. He was expected to make an initial appearance, seek bond and plead guilty in February, but his attorney reported that Kumar was hospitalized after a Jan. 15 hit-and-run car crash in the Dominican Republic. That put the court case on hold.

O'Brien wrote that Kumar had suffered several broken bones and couldn't travel until at least June, resetting the court appearance until early next week.

Then, on Wednesday, O'Brien delivered more grim news.

In a motion to Magistrate Judge Thomas B. McCoun III, the attorney wrote that Kumar underwent surgery, fell and broke more bones and now requires more surgery. O'Brien asked to delay the hearing until January. He told a reporter Kumar is hospitalized in Long Island, N.Y., but declined to say where, citing patient privacy laws.

The University of Tampa expects him back in August, a spokesman said. On Facebook, Kumar describes himself as a biology and predental student.

Under a deal worked out with prosecutors, Kumar would plead guilty to a single count of use of a fictitious name, a federal crime punishable by no more than five years in prison.

As described in the record, the scheme relied in part on change of address notices filed with the U.S. Postal Service in the name of a fictitious seller. They caused payments to be rerouted to addresses and post office boxes associated with Kumar.

He posted more than 100 ticket ads and submitted more than 180 changes of address, the agreement states. The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Patty Ryan at [email protected] or (813) 226-3382.

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