Two Defendants Charged with Defrauding Sony Open Tennis Tournament
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 10, 2014|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce the unsealing of an indictment alleging that two former employees of IMG Worldwide Inc. defrauded the company that runs the Sony Open Tennis tournament on Key Biscayne. Mikel Mims, 37, of Miami Gardens, and Simon Habbershaw, 41, formerly of Miami, were charged with conspiring to commit wire fraud and substantive wire fraud charges. Mims was arrested this morning and is scheduled to have an initial appearance this afternoon in Miami. Simon Habbershaw remains at large.
Each defendant faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud and five years in prison for conspiring to commit wire fraud.
According to the indictment, Mims and Habbershaw were employees of IMG Worldwide Inc. responsible for coordinating with sponsors and patrons for the delivery of tickets to the Sony Open Tennis tournament on Key Biscayne. The defendants are alleged to have told the printing vendor for IMG Worldwide Inc. that patrons and customers of IMG Worldwide Inc. had purchased more tickets than the patrons and customers had actually purchased. As a result, the printing vendor for IMG Worldwide Inc. printed extra tournament tickets that it delivered to the defendants. The defendants then told customers that purported patron and customers of IMG Worldwide Inc. had extra tickets for the tennis tournament that needed to be sold, stating that various companies had previously purchased too many tournament tickets. Between 2008 and 2013, Mims and Habbershaw sold these extra tournament tickets to patrons and customers of IMG Worldwide Inc. but instead used the proceeds of the sale of the additional tournament tickets for their own personal benefit and the benefit of others. The indictment seeks forfeiture in the amount of $407,409.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys H. Ron Davidson and Alison Lehr.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.