Counterfeit Tickets

Several concert-goers were turned away from the Thomas Rhett show on Friday in Huntington because their tickets were fake, according to police and the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

John Holstein, 42, of South Point, Ohio, was arrested and charged with selling the counterfeit tickets.

According to the criminal complaint, Holstein was in a large crowd in front of the arena trying to sell tickets and had a large packet of tickets hanging out of his jacket pocket.

Holstein admitted to police that the tickets were fake and that he was meeting victims at the venue, as well as selling extra tickets.

Police say Holstein sold the tickets for $60 a piece and had sold around 50 tickets.

But victims say this wasn't the first time they have bought tickets from Holstein. In fact, they've been buying tickets from him for years.

According to victims, Holstein identified himself as a district promoter for Live Nation, an authentic company associated with Tickermaster.

Fans who bought tickets through Holstein say they never had any reason to believe he didn't work for Live Nation because the concert tickets always worked.

"We gave our money to him a few days before they went on sale so we kind of just thought we were getting presale," Jessalyn Parsons said. "Nothing seemed off about it. It seemed legit. We wouldn't have dreamed that we would be in the situation that we're at right now."

Jessalyn Parsons was turned away from the Thomas Rhett concert but did attend several concerts with pit tickets, bought from Holstein.

"Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert," Parsons told WSAZ. "We saw Chris Young, Justin Bieber, there's been a lot for the past few years."

Other victims say they were even able to get meet and greet passes on occasion. The concerts weren't just in Huntington and Charleston, but also Lexington, Columbus, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

Veronica Hordubay, marking director for the Big Sandy Superstore Arena, says the venue has no choice but to turn fans with fake tickets away.

"That's the last thing we want to do is turn our community away from enjoying a show," Hordubay said.

The only valid places to purchase a ticket at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena are in person at the box office, through the arena's website and on Ticketmaster.com.

Hordubay says the arena cannot verify tickets bought from any other site or person, meaning there's no way to know if it's authentic until you show up on concert day.

"If it doesn't feel right, don't buy it," Hordubay told WSAZ. "Come to the box office and ask us if we have put tickets left, we'll tell you."

Parsons says she's not the only one who is already out money for future concerts. She bought tickets through Holstein for the Justin Moore and Lee Brice concert at the arena in April.

"We know we're not going to get our money back, we called and the confirmation numbers were fake," Parsons said. "I kind of feel almost a little guilty. Because you go to these concerts to support the people that you love and you want to hear their music and you're giving your money to some random guy off the street, basically."


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