Olympic ticket scam delays payments

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER - Organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics got scalped on the official Olympic ticket website, but hundreds of sellers are paying the price.

VANOC advertised the Fan-to-Fan Marketplace as the safest, most secure way to buy and sell Winter Olympics tickets. VANOC vice-president of communications Renee Smith-Valade admitted Monday that 200 accounts were hit by a stolen Visa card scam “involving the ticket purchase side of the transaction.”

VANOC “undertook extra diligence to ensure accuracy due to the circumstances” and delayed payments, she said.

“Our goal is to send these payments to our cheques issuing company this week, who will prepare the payment cheques and send them out as soon as possible,” she said.

Peter Dunn of Whitby, Ont., who was laid-off from the Atlantic Packaging Products paper mill in March, said he is waiting for $23,000 from VANOC. His original receipt said payment would come in April.

“The story seemed to change day-to-day, week-to-week,” Dunn said. “It surprised me a little bit for such a professionally run organization.”

His confidence was shook further on Friday. A VANOC representative told him his account was referred to the finance department for review because a fraudulent card was used to buy a pair of tickets he listed online.

Smith-Valade said Vancouver Police were involved. Deputy Chief Steve Sweeney told police board on March 17 that four Latvians were busted for using stolen credit cards to buy tickets from the VANOC resale website.

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