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A former employee of the United States Golf Association has been charged with embezzling funds in a scheme involving the unauthorized sale of US Open Championship tickets. Robert Fryer, 39, of Perkasie was charged last week with one count of conspiracy, wire fraud and mail fraud charges.

In a statement from the Department of Justice, Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Fryer has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, four counts of mail fraud and 10 counts of wire fraud. His offenses are tied to a scheme aimed to embezzle and pocket fraudulent proceeds from the US Open Championship tickets with a face value amounting to more than $3 million.

According to CNN, authorities accused Fryer of stealing more than 23,000 tickets between 2013 and 2019 all without the consent of the USGA. The said tickets were supposedly sold to third party ticket brokers for the price of more than $1million.

Payments made to Fryer were made in the form of cash and through PayPal transfers. The tickets were bought in bulk by the brokers who would then resell them to their clients. Under the USGA policy, ticket sales are limited to a strict 20-ticket cap per buyer.

"Criminals that conduct ticket schemes like this prey on the excitement surrounding big events; fans should remember that any item with a low price that seems 'too good to be true' should be cause for caution and concern,” Williams said.

Fryers allegedly would deliver the tickets via Federal Express or UPS and even personally handed them over to his direct buyers. One ticket broker was reported to have exchanged regular emails with Fryer to send prepaid UPS shipping labels to be used when sending the tickets.

The case which was investigated by the FBI will be prosecuted by Assistant Attorney Michael S. Lowe. Bradley S. Benavides, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division said, “Fraud is simply not the answer, if you feel your paycheck isn’t up to par. The FBI takes seriously allegations of embezzlement and fraud and will investigate anyone engaged in this sort of criminal behavior.”

Should Fryer be convicted of his charges, he could face a maximum sentence of up to 300 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $3,750,000 fine. On top of this, he is also bound to pay a $1,500 special assessment. Any profits he may have made from the sales of the tickets could also be forfeited and he will be required to pay restitution to the USGA.

USGA flags
USGA flags on the course during the final round of the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 16, 2019 in Pebble Beach, California. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

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