Raising awareness of international consumer fraud investigation
Weeks before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, consumers throughout the world were defrauded by official-looking ticketing Web sites. Complete with logos and impressive details of Beijing event venues and other facilities, the scam sites also victimized parents and family members of Olympic athletes.
Powers MediaWorks LLC was retained to support a Texas law firm’s global investigation of the scam and related communications efforts.
As the Beijing Games began, the law firm quickly launched a Web site as an online resource for people who had been defrauded. Within days, the site recorded thousands of visits from 138 countries and territories. The scope of the fraud soon became clear. News outlets from around the world covered the scam and the developing investigations.
The law firm, which cooperated with law enforcement authorities in the U.S. and in Europe, fostered support for civil and criminal investigations of the scam. Several individuals, who were charged with various crimes in the U.K. within a year of the Beijing Games, are awaiting trial. In a separate civil proceeding, three individuals recently were found “guilty of deceit and conspiring to injure by unlawful means” by a High Court in London.
The law firm also initiated a two-year campaign to reform the ticketing process to improve access for families of athletes who earned their way to the Olympics so that they would be less vulnerable to online ticket scams. Organizers for the 2010 Vancouver and 2012 London Olympics have announced ticketing policy changes and the issue continues to be debated in public policy and news forums.