Gwinnet County, Georgia investigators are giving Ketan Shah until Sunday to give his side of a story that currently has him accused of swindling almost a dozen people out of over $750,000 in a Super Bowl ticket scam that has been going for months, according to Atlanta ABC-affiliate WSB-TV.
“It was a similar promise to all the other people who bought tickets,” said Minish Shah, who is not related to Ketan Shah but knows him well through the community. “One hundred level seating with access to the concierge lounge and a few pre-parties. I find the whole situation kind of bizarre, and hopefully, there will be some kind of logical explanation.”
Given that many of the alleged victims included family, friends and people Shah connected with through friends, folks were more than willing to cough up large sums of money for seats to this game—his reportedly “squeaky clean” business record also helped build trust. But those people soon realized that they had been duped when the “prominent” local businessman became impossible to reach as the time to pick up the premium tickets came and went.
Most of the people that Shah allegedly screwed over lost at least $20,000. The most notable total came from a friend of Shah’s and a businessman, who put down a whopping $500,000 for tickets as well as “a chance to host an arena Super Bowl event.” The most notable victim: Shah’s own mother, who lost $36,000 but didn’t press charges.
Everyone else wasn’t as authority-apprehensive as Shah’s mother was, and reported Shah to the police. But when officials began looking for him, they found out he had been reported missing by his wife since early January. Police records obtained by WSB-TV note that Ketan Shah’s family believes he went to Las Vegas as part of a “mid-life crisis” and that he had taken out a $500,000 loan against his digital printing business. Bhavi Shah says she doesn’t know where her husband is at this time and alleges she knew nothing about the ticket scam.
Police have taken an interesting approach to this investigation. The gravity of what the local businessman had done to his close friends and mother was enough to draw a bit of shock out of a police spokesman:
“Right now, what we know of is just slightly over three quarters of a million dollars scammed out for Super Bowl-related stuff,” said Cpl. Wilbert Rundles, a Gwinnett County police spokesperson.
“It’s not that he posted some ad and random people are contacting this guy for tickets and being scammed,” Rundles continued. “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.”
But his alleged crime hasn’t done anything to disrupt the image of Shah, as police are attacking this with a mindset that more or less amounts to That’s weird, why would he do this? Doesn’t he know it’s illegal?
“We’d certainly like to get his side and see if there’s something more ... some trouble that he’s been in,” Rundles said. “It’s a very odd situation that you would take people this close to you and scam this kind of money — any money — but especially this large of an amount, and then just disappear.”
We’ll update this post with more information as it becomes available.