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Terence Shepherd

Terence Shepherd, Alan Scott to Face Charges in Xclusive Case.

9/15/2009

Terence Shepherd, 50, the man thought to be behind beijingticketing.com and various other fraudulent ticket sites, has been arrested in England.  Shepherd was arrested in a dawn raid on his house on November 25, 2008, along with his wife, Margaret Canty- Shepherd, 49.

England’s Serious Fraud Office arrested Xclusive Tickets Ltd. and Xclusive Leisure & Hospitality Ltd. Director Alan Scott, 54 in the same operation.  Geert van Meel, 51, and Richard Nicholas, 41, two other Shepherd associates, were also arrested.

In January 2009 a sixth person, a 65-year-old accountant connected to Shepherd, was arrested, questioned and released on unconditional bail.  Metropolitan Police arrested another man, aged 66, in April 2009.  He was interviewed and also released on bail.  

Recently, the Serious Fraud Office announced that Terence Shepherd, Alan Scott, and the other three suspects arrested in November, including Shepherd’s wife, Margaret, will likely be charged in the coming weeks in connection with the Xclusive ticket scam, meaning justice could be on the horizon for Xclusive’s victims.

The arrests come after the liquidations of several Shepherd ticketing sites, including theonlineticketshop.com and Sports Mondial.  But more recently, investigators believe Shepherd has been at the center of the fraudulent website beijingticketing.com.  (Read more on Shepherd here)

It was alleged that Shepherd, Scott and their associates failed to deliver thousands of tickets to the Beijing Olympics sold through their website. Victims were spread over the entire globe, with people being defrauded in 60 countries.  Some customers, like Matt Cooper of Southampton, England, only lost some £600.  But others, like New York travel agent Jolanta Sochacka, lost £30,000 to Shepherd’s fraudulent site. 

Some victims were even families of Olympic athletes, dashing their hopes of seeing their loved ones compete in the greatest of all sports spectacles.

Beijingticketing.com, however, was actually registered to Xclusive Leisure & Hospitality, Ltd. The Xclusive companies, formed in mid-2006, generated about $18.5m in net revenue and ceased functioning in July 2008, just a month before the beginning of the Beijing Olympics. 

On September 9, 2008 the Xclusive companies began liquidation proceedings in London, with attorney Jim Moriarty in attendance representing defrauded consumers, himself among those scammed by Shepherd’s site.  (For a full report on the meetings, read here)

At the meeting, Xclusive Director Alan Scott conceded that the Xclusive companies did not deliver a single ticket to a buyer.  But the reason, he said, was because he paid $3.7m to ticket broker Richard “Ricky” Smith, who has since up and vanished.

Regardless of the reasons, Scott and Shepherd and others will soon be facing charges.
At least one man has been released from bail and will not be tried.

Even with charges forthcoming, Scott and Shepherd could still be working on ways to perpetrate a fraud related to Vancouver 2010.  Shortly before Xclusive went into liquidation, the company purchased eight domain names related to ticket sales for Vancouver, and one that could be used for London 2012 tickets.  Just before the company went under, the domain names were transferred to theonlineticketexchange.com.  Theonlineticketexchange.com was started by Geert van Meel, who also faces charges after his November arrest.

While consumers need to be wary of new ticket scams targeting the upcoming Olympics, those who lost money to sites like beijingticketing.com could finally see some justice and perhaps some answers as to how these scams could establish themselves freely on the web again and again.

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