UPDATE: Two Beliebers get some reprieve in ticket fraud
UPDATE: For one Westbank, B.C. mother and daughter duo, who paid $600 for counterfeit Justin Bieber tickets, there was somewhat of a happy ending. The Coquitlam RCMP were able to identify and arrest an 38-year-old Port Coquitlam resident allegedly involved in the fraudulent transaction. Guiseppe Farinella is now facing one count of fraud and possessing identity documents. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 21.
The teenage girls who helped a 15-year-old who flew from Brazil to see Justin Bieber in Vancouver, only to discover her ticket was a fake, say they also bought fake tickets for Friday’s show.
“I was bawling my eyes out,” said Anna Haebler-Singer, recounting the moment the ticket scanner at Rogers Arena wouldn’t accept her ticket. “They looked really real.”
“It didn’t set in for me at first,” said Annie Flintofft. “I was like ‘is this actually happening?'”
The two girls then ran into Maria Falcao, whose despair at finding out her $600 ticket was fake quickly went viral.
Haebler-Singer and Flintofft didn’t know that thousands of Beliebers were already voicing their hope Falcao could get a ticket – but they felt compelled to help, giving her $90 so she could afford to get in.
“We couldn’t even afford one ticket for one of us, so we thought we’d rather help this girl get in. There will be other concerts,” said Flintofft.
“No one was around her, she was in this country she doesn’t even know, and her friends had real tickets and went inside, so she was alone,” said Haebler-Singer.
“We’re going to have other opportunities to see him.”
One alleged scammer let victim take photos of him
“There was like a billion people so upset. Girls had makeup running down their face. It looked like they stepped out of a horror movie,” said Amber Sekhon, describing the scene outside Rogers Arena yesterday, as person after person discovered their Bieber tickets were fake.
Sekhon says that on Friday, she and her friend saw a man selling Beiber tickets to other girls inside Oakridge Mall.
They approached him, looking to do the same. After asking to see his ID and copies of the tickets, they paid $150 each – and Sekhon thought she had a foolproof plan to ensure she wasn’t being scammed.
“The tickets felt real and looked real…but I told him ‘if they’re fake, can I take a picture of you, and put them online?'” she said.
“He laughed, so I was really relieved.”
But when she got to the front of the line yesterday, Sekhon found out the tickets were fake.
“We find out that they were fake and at that point, I took out the picture of the guy that I took and I said ‘this guy is not OK’ and I posted him on Facebook.”
The photo Sekhon posted has already been shared over a thousand times, and Global News has spoken with three other victims alleging they too purchased tickets from the same individual.
“If he’s scammed people before, and he’s doing it again, then it means the consequences before weren’t enough for him,” said Sekhon.
A complaint was made to the Vancouver Police Department, though Sgt. Randy Fincham says this story is all too common.
“We see fraudulent tickets in relation to the majority of large scale events that take place in the city. This is not limited to one particular artist or event,” he wrote in a statement.
“Buyers should be careful when purchasing tickets from resale sites, and always obtain valid identification from the seller so they have some recourse, should the tickets be invalid.”
– With files from Nadia Stewart