Olympic Families Win Access to Games, According to Moriarty Leyendecker

Oct 26, 2010, 11:09 ET from Moriarty Leyendecker, P.C.

HOUSTON and BOULDER, Colo., Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The families of Olympic athletes finally have guaranteed access to the Games, according to the Moriarty Leyendecker law firm, which led a multi-year investigation of dubious ticketing practices by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and online ticket scams.

The IOC announcement this week that Olympic athletes will be able to buy tickets from a dedicated pool of tickets should better protect their families from ticketing fraud and reselling abuses that enrich profiteers connected to the IOC and national Olympic committees, said attorney Jim Moriarty, who was defrauded by an online site before the Beijing Games in 2008.

"The Olympic athletes and their families have won an important victory here," Moriarty said. "For years, the tragic consequence of the IOC's failure to address online ticket fraud issues was that the people the Olympic athletes most want to be at the Games – their families and friends – were the most vulnerable to the scams and reselling abuses."

During the past two Olympics, hundreds of consumers, including families and friends of Olympic athletes, were defrauded by official-looking ticketing web sites or failed to receive tickets from "gray market" resellers. Moriarty, who is a sponsor of Olympic athletes and programs, represented hundreds of ticket consumers, including athlete relatives, at no cost.

In 2008, the IOC and the U.S. Olympic Committee filed lawsuits in U.S. federal courts against operators of two web sites, alleging that they used committee trademarks to deceive and defraud the public. The lawsuits did not seek to recover losses for defrauded consumers.

That year, consumers, including Moriarty, reported a London-based ticketing syndicate to British law enforcement authorities after millions of dollars of tickets purchased for the Beijing Games were not delivered. Six people were later charged by the Serious Fraud Office in London and are awaiting trial. The leading technology firm Cisco described the alleged fraud as "one of the most elaborate social engineering Internet scams of 2008."

Moriarty, whose law firm maintains a web site to support its investigation of Olympic ticketing issues and provide resources to defrauded consumers, said the IOC policy change represents progress for athletes' rights.

"In 2008, the Chinese Olympic authorities essentially ignored the fraud problem," Moriarty said. "Two years later, in Calgary, the Canadian authorities ensured that their athletes had ticket access for their families. Now, the IOC finally can provide access to tickets to Olympian families of athletes – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, and everywhere in between."

CONTACT:  Jim Moriarty of Moriarty Leyendecker, P.C., +1-713-528-0700

SOURCE Moriarty Leyendecker, P.C.