WICHITA — Two former University of Kansas athletics officials have asked a federal judge to delay their sentencings in cases tied to a $1 million ticket scalping scam while they help prosecutors in related cases.
Jason Jeffries, the school's former assistant director of ticket operations, pleaded guilty in July to misprison of a felony, essentially knowing about the scam and hiding it from authorities. Brandon Simmons, the university's former assistant athletic director for sales and marketing, pleaded guilty to the same charge.
In separate motions filed today, attorneys for both men said the government has agreed to allow their clients to earn a reduction in sentencing in exchange for their help in the ongoing investigation and prosecution of other cases involving misuse of university sports tickets. Jeffries said he couldn't get the reduction until the other cases were resolved and asked for a six-month postponement.
Simmons' motion quoted a Tuesday e-mail from U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney indicating his plea agreement requires him to be sentenced after the resolution of the other cases "whether or not filed."
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As part of their plea deals, both men agreed to cooperate fully in the federal probe into the ticket scam and to testify in any grand jury or other court proceeding. They also agreed to disclose to the government all assets for forfeiture and not to contest any forfeiture proceedings.
They could receive up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but both will likely get far less, if any, prison time. Their sentencings have been set for Sept. 29, although those are likely to be continued as requested given that prosecutors have agreed to the extensions.
Details of the scam surfaced in May, when school officials disclosed that a report by a Wichita law firm had been sent to federal investigators already looking into allegations of wrongdoing in the athletics department and the school's athletics fundraising arm, the Williams Educational Fund.
An internal investigation found the school had losses of least $1 million over a five-year period from 2005 to the present, while noting it might be as much as three times that amount given the time period and number of people involved. That report credited Jeffries and Simmons for their cooperation.
The law firm's investigation found that five Kansas athletics employees and a consultant — none of whom are still employed by the school — sold or used at least 17,609 men's basketball tickets, 2,181 football tickets and a number of parking passes and other passes for personal purposes.
The report showed over $887,000 in basketball tickets and more than $122,000 worth of football tickets were involved.
Investigators were unable to determine what portion of the $1 million in tickets were sold directly to ticket brokers. Distribution of the tickets were disguised by department employees as complimentary and inventory tickets, or other categories with limited accountability.
At a July hearing, prosecutors said their evidence would show the university had a way to track available tickets, but that Jeffries would withhold sale of certain tickets to the general public, then change their status to reserved sales to disguise the nature of the transaction.
Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins, while never accused of having anything to do with the scam, abruptly retired 12 months early on Tuesday. Perkins has in the past acknowledged poor oversight of the ticketing operations, saying the scandal was the most embarrassing thing that had happened in his 40-year career.