Shortly after “Hamilton,” the musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers, opened on Broadway it became a smash hit with ticket prices soaring. A bona fide phenomenon, fans have waited hours for lottery-based tickets or paid upwards of $2,000 to get a seat in the theater.
With tickets extremely difficult to come by, Joseph Meli and his co-conspirator Matthew Harriton saw an opportunity to make money. The two conspirators sought investments from investors with the promise that they had an agreement with the musical’s producer to purchase 35,000 tickets to be resold for a profit, with a second agreement that they had the rights to purchase 250,000 tickets to an upcoming “Harry Potter” Broadway play.
Neither Meli nor Harriton had access to such tickets, yet they still convinced 100 investors to give them nearly $97 million. Of that money, approximately $59 million was paid out in Ponzi-style payments as purported investment returns to earlier investors, while Harriton took $1.3 million in investor funds and Meli used $5 million to spend on jewelry, cars, wine, and other high-end merchandise.
Hamilton Ponzi-Scheme Defendant Tries to Slow Down Case
Meli is now in court trying to stay the case brought by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), arguing that the criminal case also brought against him should proceed first so that he can preserve his right against self-incrimination.
Although the SEC has agreed to parts of Meli’s stay request, it is fighting certain aspects of it, including asking for a receiver, the issuance of third-party subpoenas, and forcing Meli to answer the SEC’s amended complaint.
Did You Invest in the Hamilton Ponzi Scheme?
If you invested with Joseph Meli or Matthew Harriton, or believe you have been the victim of another Ponzi scheme, you may have legal rights that require your attention and you should contact a qualified investment fraud attorney immediately.
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With offices in Los Angeles their securities lawyers have helped stockbroker fraud victims throughout Burbank, Sherman Oaks, Thousand Oaks, Calabasas and Santa Barbara, and recovered over $100 million from banks and brokerages firms for their wrongful actions.