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Posted April 22, 2019, 4:40 pm
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Four Texas relatives charged in Masters Tournament ticket scheme

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Four members of a Texas family have been charged in a scheme to fraudulently obtain multiple Masters Tournament tickets.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney, Stephen Michael Freeman, of Katy, Texas, is charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Freeman's parents, Steven Lee Freeman and Diane Freeman, of Helotes, Texas, and sister, Christine Oliverson, of San Antonio, Texas, each are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

According to court documents, the four defendants used names and addresses from a purchased bulk mailing list to create multiple fraudulent accounts in the Augusta National Golf Club's online ticket application system. All this occurred without the knowledge or permission of the individuals whose identities were used. If any of those names were chosen to receive Masters tickets and the defendants were notified via the email addresses provided for them, Stephen Michael Freeman would create fake identification documents to persuade the Augusta National to change the winner's mailing address to one that was under control of the conspiracy. Once the defendants received the tickets at those addresses via U.S. Mail, they would then resell the tickets at a substantial profit.

"The Masters is one of the world's great sporting events, and tickets to the tournament are cherished by their fortunate recipients," said Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. "Using fraud and deceit to circumvent the Augusta National's generous lottery system is despicable, and those who follow the rules in hopes of winning tickets deserve better than to have their chances diminished by profiteering con artists."