SAN DIEGO -- Twin 63-year-old brothers were sentenced Friday to federal prison for defrauding sports fans by persuading them to pay for tickets, hotel accommodations and airline flights for out-of-town events and then failing to provide "nearly all the services."
Anthony Casias was sentenced to 36 months, Leopold Casias Jr. to 33 months. Both had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in running their business, L&T Sports Events Inc.
Among the victims were members of their mother's rosary group, said U.S. District Judge John Houston.
"You are not [Wall Street swindler] Madoff," Houston told the two before passing sentence. "This was not a sophisticated scheme. This was an old-fashioned, salt-of-the-earth swindle."
A father wanted to take his son to a game between the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders. But once in Oakland, father and son found themselves without the tickets, hotel accommodations or flight back to San Diego that they had purchased.
A dozen Chargers fans bought tickets and hotel accommodations from L&T for a game in Chicago between the Chargers and the Bears. But when the fans got to Chicago, there were no tickets and no hotel accommodations.
According to court documents, fans paid to attend home games of the New York Giants, Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders, as well as Notre Dame home games, among other events.
But fans found themselves stranded in Oakland, Chicago and Hoboken, N.J., according to court documents.
One scheme involved arranging trips to an NFL game in London with side trips to Paris and Rome. Some customers found themselves stranded, according to documents.
"You were heartless," Houston said. "You just didn't care."
In some cases, fans were persuaded by the Casias brothers to pay a second time for tickets, with a promise to be reimbursed. The promise proved to be false, according to the indictment.
In the 1990s the brothers were convicted of a similar scheme involving school trips for middle-school students, according to court documents.
Houston set a Feb. 8 hearing to determine the amount of restitution.
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