British fraud ran Beijing ticket scam
The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
The mastermind behind the Beijing Olympics ticketing scam is believed to be a Briton with a long history of fraudulent ticket schemes, and it is not the first time Australians have been have been caught in his web.
Terance Shepherd, 49, a London online tout, was planning to "go out in style", a former colleague warned last year, after a British newspaper exposed another of his websites, online ticketshop.com, for selling non-existent World Cup tickets for England matches for as much as $6000 each.
Shepherd, now believed to be hiding in Barbados, had planned "one last massive sting" before retiring, Sydney private investigator Ken Gamble, who has been tracking the fraudster's activities since 2003, said yesterday.
Mr Gamble has compiled a dossier that includes more than 150 online ticketing websites allegedly operated by Shepherd, including olympictickets beijing2008.com, most of which have been registered to a company in Phoenix, Arizona.
Shepherd continues to live in a $3.2 million home in the south London suburb of Blackheath.
The sites are shut as soon as buyers realise they have been duped, but not before the frauds rip off thousands of dollars.
Speaking from Amsterdam yesterday, Mr Gamble said that despite investigations by FIFA, soccer's governing body, Britain's Football Association and rugby union officials, Shepherd had continued to dodge authorities by ensuring his name was never listed on any of the companies he controlled.
"It's an extraordinarily well-organised syndicate of fake websites, which also deliberately oversells tickets for major events on legitimate websites," Mr Gamble said. "The story's always the same, it's an 'unfortunate mistake' or someone has 'let them down'. They promise a refund, which never happens, and the credit companies end up paying all the refunds. It's all part of the elaborate scam."
In 2003, Shepherd came to the attention of the NRL after his company Sports Mondial was found to have illegally obtained $22,000 worth of tickets for the grand final.