Georgia ticket broker Jeff Cook was apprehended in Florida Keys early Saturday (Dec. 1) morning. Cook was on the run from Georgia authorities after he was convicted in October of nine counts of fraud and one count of selling tickets without a license in relation to failing to produce tickets for a big Notre Dame football game in September of 2017.
“Apparently he was planning to waste away in Margaritaville,” Putnam County Sheriff Howard Stills told Dawg Nation.
Cook was arrested in September of 2017 for over-selling tickets for the University of Georgia game versus Notre Dame, likely engaging in a popular broker tactic called “short-selling” or “speculative listing” wherein brokers only procure tickets for events after customers have placed a paid order.
The broker was supposed to report to the Putnam County Jail by 9 a.m. Friday (Nov. 30, 2018) morning to begin serving a 180-day sentence, but failed to appear. That failure has resulted in Putnam County charging Cook with escape which could result in another one to five years behind bars.
According to Dawg Nation, Cook is also looking at additional ticketing fraud charges.
“Because of the publicity surrounding this case, we heard from another man who said he paid for tickets to the (Louisiana State University) game and never received them,” Sills said. “So apparently Mr. Cook didn’t learn his lesson. I’m going to charge him for that one, too.”
Putnam County was able to locate Cook by contacting his daughter, whose house Cook spent the night at on Thursday. Cook’s daughter said her father did not mention he was supposed to be surrendering himself for jail and told the authorities he was headed to meet with his boss.
A Monroe County deputy spotted Cook’s vehicle via a tag reader on Saturday morning. Cook was taken into custody and driven 50 miles south to Key West where he will await an extradition hearing.
“Now I’ve got to go down there and get him,” Sills said. “It’s gonna be sometime next week. He’s gonna have to spend a few days munching on sponge cake.”
Cook, who ran a ticket site called AllSports, landed on authorities’ radars when he oversold his ticket allotment and began mailing out notices that fans weren’t getting their tickets for the September 2017 game.
UGA fan Seth Welch told WXIA that he had purchased a ticket from Cook in May of 2017 and was left scrambling for one of the most expensive football tickets of the season. Tickets were averaging $1,168 each.
“The late notice was really the worst part. I haven’t heard from the guy,” Welch said. “Word on the street is the Notre Dame fans that promised him tickets saw the Georgia fans were paying premiums for tickets and kind of held out, gave him his money back, and decided to sell them on their own on the market for a higher dollar amount.”
Fans were supposed to receive tickets from Cook in August of 2017, but the broker kept pushing back the date and then eventually stopped responding to buyers. Some fans, including Gary Wilbourn who ordered 19 tickets from Cook and only received two, drove to Cook’s home since his address is listed on the AllSports site and found a note taped to the front door that said he was out of town due to a family emergency.
After fans could not get in touch with Cook, they turned to the police, who began a criminal investigation.