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Former Iowa sports talk host sentenced to federal prison for ticket scams

DES MOINES — A former sports talk show host in central Iowa will spend more than three years in prison for his involvement in several scams.

A U.S. District Court judge sentenced 60-year-old Marty Tirrell of West Des Moines to 41 months in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to mail fraud. Evidence presented at his sentencing hearing showed Tirrell had been participating in sports ticket scams for more than ten years. He marketed himself as a sports insider who had access to prime seating for sporting events and then found investors by giving them free sports tickets and access to VIP seating.

The court information says Tirrell would convince them to give him money to purchase sports tickets at a discount, that he would then sell to the general public at a higher price. Tirrell promised to return their investments and split the profits. Tirrell instead took the money and paid off other victims, made unauthorized purchases, or used the money to place online sports bets. When Tirrell was unable to find new “investors,” he kited checks, stole credit cards, and made fraudulent claims to banks to try to obtain more money to perpetuate his scheme.

Tirrell also scammed people out of money by promising sports tickets, receiving payment, then failing to produce the promised tickets. Tirrell was ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution.

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