Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Real money is needed to make fake Super Bowl tickets

TAMPA — All nine people arrested Sunday for selling counterfeit Super Bowl tickets came from outside Florida.

Sgt. Bill Todd, who supervised the Tampa Police Department's counterfeit detail during the game, said that's not unusual.

Counterfeiting a piece of paper as elaborate as an NFL Super Bowl ticket — with its hologram and heat-sensitive ink — is expensive and requires planning.

"To have that kind of resources takes an organized group," Todd said.

Counterfeit ticket salespeople who come to Tampa are often associated with groups out of Philadelphia, New York and Georgia, Todd said.

"How to get to them is typically the challenge," he said.

The people arrested — like those booked into jail Sunday for hawking their faux passes — are often just on the front lines of the scam.

In one case, Todd said, a victim who realized he'd been scammed turned into a perpetrator himself when he tried to sell the ticket to another unknowing buyer and was busted.

Whatever the case, it's the people behind the scenes who prove more difficult for investigators to locate.

The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition of Washington, D.C., alleges that profits from counterfeit goods often support organized crime, drug trafficking, child labor and terrorist activity.

Selling counterfeit goods is relatively low risk compared to selling drugs — but it is also highly profitable, cash based and hard to trace, the coalition wrote in a 2005 "white paper." The paper also cites a General Accountability Office report that described "illicit sales of a variety of counterfeit goods" by terrorists.

The coalition, which has been around for 30 years, is dedicated to helping law enforcement prevent counterfeiting and piracy.

In all, counterfeiting costs U.S. businesses $200 billion to $250 billion a year, and is responsible for the loss of more than 750,000 jobs, the group claims.

Todd said investigating counterfeiters requires cooperation among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

The street arrest is only the first step. Next come questions.

Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at or (813) 226-3383.

Real money is needed to make fake Super Bowl tickets 02/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 3, 2009 11:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.

  2. Police: Man tries to lure child with puppy in Polk County


    Times staff

    HAINES CITY — A man was arrested Sunday after he tried to entice a young girl into his camper to view a puppy, according to police.

    Dale Collins, 63, faces a charge of luring or enticing a child under the age of 12. [Photo courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Scaramucci on leaks: 'I'm going to fire everybody'


    WASHINGTON — Anthony Scaramucci, President Donald Trump's new communications director, vowed Tuesday to purge the White House staff of disloyal aides in an effort to crack down on leaks, as another member of the press staff resigned from a West Wing reeling from an unfolding shake-up.

  4. Editorial: Coming together to reduce car thefts


    The simple, knee-jerk response to the juvenile car theft epidemic in Pinellas County would be to crack down on offenders with an increased police presence and stiffer sentences. Thankfully, local community leaders did not stop there. As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its 
As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its "Hot Wheels" investigation into youth car thefts, a variety of ideas from multiple directions increases the odds of actually solving the cause and not just treating the symptoms.

  5. Editorial: Floridians' health care now at risk in Washington


    The health care for millions of Floridians is now at risk. The U.S. Senate's dramatic vote Tuesday to begin debate on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act with no idea what will happen is a dangerous gamble with American lives and the national economy. Barring an unexpected bipartisan compromise, a handful of …

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., dramatically returned to the Senate for the first time since his brain cancer was diagnosed and cast the key vote that enabled Vice President Mike Pence to break the 50-50 tie and allow the health care debate to proceed.