Ahead of Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta, one Georgia businessman allegedly disappeared with nearly $1 million following a monthslong ticket scam.
Gwinnett police are searching for Ketan Shah after at least five victims, including his own mother, accused him of theft in connection to the scam and his wife reported him missing earlier this month, as reported by the Gwinnett Daily Post, WXIA and WSTB.
“Right now, what we know of is just slightly over three-quarters of a million dollars scammed out for Super Bowl-related stuff,” a Gwinnett County police spokesperson told WSTB.
“It’s not that he posted some ad and random people are contacting this guy for tickets and being scammed. He’s known these people for many years. One of them, he’s known his whole life because it’s his own mother, and he’s taken advantage of them,” the spokesperson said.
Records, obtained by WSTB, show Shah’s mother telling police she had lost $36,000 in the scam, but declining to press charges.
A spokesperson for the Gwinnett County Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Incident reports, obtained by the Gwinnett Daily Post, indicate Shah’s alleged plan with one of the victims, John Brunetti, telling police, “Shah had a sort of lottery where he would sell Super Bowl tickets to the first 250 people that paid for them.”
Brunetti told multiple outlets that he paid Shah $50,000. A theft by deception report on Shah filed by other victims indicates similar lost amounts in ticket purchases, according to WSTB, which also reported the biggest loss recorded was a $500,000 payment.
Shah’s wife and daughter told authorities that they were unaware of the businessman’s alleged scam.
“They stated that they had no prior knowledge of Shah’s plans with the Super Bowl tickets and that the first they heard of it was when both Brunetti and another individual called asking about the tickets,” the incident reports said, adding, “They think Shah took the money and went to Las Vegas as part of a mid-life crisis.”
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Another victim, Minish Shah, who is not related to Ketan Shah, recalled to WSTB how he was promised “one hundred level seating with access to the concierge lounge and a few pre-parties.” However, he later found the “whole situation kind of bizarre, and hopefully, there will be some kind of logical explanation.”
Shah has not yet been charged due to the fact that the Super Bowl has not yet taken place. The Gwinnett County police spokesperson told the Gwinnett Daily Post that if Shah does not provide tickets on Sunday, he will face numerous theft by deception charges.
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