Jason Nissen, a 44-year-old Roslyn resident and former math teacher, was arrested and charged in Manhattan federal court Wednesday for allegedly running a $70 million Ponzi scheme.
Prosecutors allege that from 2015 to May 2017, while Nissen was the CEO of a Manhattan-based ticket broker National Event Company, Nissen defrauded lenders of millions.
The firm bought and sold many tickets, but millions of dollars allegedly found themselves in Nissen’s personal account.
In the $70 million Ponzi scheme, Nissen allegedly took money to buy and resell tickets to big sporting events and the Broadway hit Hamilton – only to enrich himself and pay back others.
“They’re inflated numbers. We really had those events and really sold the tickets and they’re inflated, you know, two or three fold depending on how it was,” Nissen said in a taped conversation, according to the complaint.
Prosecutors also said that Nissen “falsified financial documents and inflated accounts receiveable ledgers” and presented them to victims as fake proof that their money was being used for purchasing tickets for resale so he could get more money.
His alleged victims include a diamond wholesaler that loaned him $32 million, a private-equity firm that invested $40 million and another person who allegedly gave Nissen $1.9 million to buy and resell tickets to a UFC fight, according to the suit.
Some cash was used to buy tickets, but not as much as Nissen claimed, prosecutors said.
A New York Times report says that Nissen, when he was a teacher at a Queens high school, was reassigned as school officials investigated whether he sold students tickets to a free Dave Matthews Band concert. He was fired in 2004.
Nissen is now charged with wire fraud. This could carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Assistant United States Attorneys Kan M. Nawaday, Lauren B. Schorr, and Russell Capone are in charge of the prosecution.
Michael F. Bachner, Nissen’s defense lawyer, declined to comment.