Crime & Courts

Probation likely for two in KU ticket scam

A federal judge in Wichita said Wednesday that he tentatively plans to sentence two former University of Kansas athletic department officials to two years of probation for failing to tell authorities about a $2 million ticket-scalping scheme.

U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown notified the parties in a court filing of his proposed sentence for Brandon Simmons, the former assistant athletic director of sales and marketing. He also plans to order Simmons to pay $157,480 in restitution.

Brown said in a separate order that he tentatively plans a probation sentence for Jason Jeffries, former assistant director of ticket operations. He plans to order Jeffries to pay $56,000 in restitution.

Brown announced his proposed sentences early to give the parties time to prepare arguments before their hearings Monday.

The two Lawrence men cooperated early with an internal university investigation and with federal investigators.

Thomas Haney, Jeffries' attorney, said prosecutors apparently believe that since no one testified, his client was not entitled to a lighter sentence for his cooperation.

Attorney Mark Bennett Jr., who represents Simmons, did not immediately return a call for comment. But in a court filing Tuesday, Bennett said he was surprised to learn this week that prosecutors had decided not to file a motion for substantial assistance given his client's cooperation.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said it would reserve any comment on sentencing issues to the courtroom.

Prosecutors charged Simmons and Jeffries with misprision of a felony, essentially knowing about the ticket scam and hiding it from authorities. The crime carries a maximum statutory sentence of up to three years in prison, although sentencing guidelines are typically more lenient.

Five other defendants were separately indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.