I-Team: What’s happening to Indians ticket con artists?

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The FOX 8 I TEAM has found people busted for big money World Series scams have not been punished with hard time.

With the Indians 2017 home opener upon us, the I TEAM investigated what happened in court to suspected con artists arrested during the World Series. You may recall, Cleveland Police arrested people getting hundreds, even thousands of dollars for counterfeit tickets and fake passes.

We found 5 people walked away with no jail time, just probation or credit for a few days of time served in jail; plus, maybe a fine or an order to pay back victims or the Indians.

One man did get 7 months in prison.

But records show, Simeon Gunn is wanted by Cuyahoga County Court. He can’t be found.

Last week, we saw Sammy Lewis sentenced after a plea deal. He came to Cleveland from Las Vegas, and police arrested him for selling passes for $500. But those passes, police say, were from the Major League Baseball Network, and not meant for the general public to get into the World Series.

Lewis wouldn’t answer questions.

Defense attorney David Kraus argued, some of the people buying the fake tickets and passes deserve some of the blame. Kraus said, "I don't think Mr. Lewis is the only guilty party here. "But you know, there's a culture out there that drives this business."

In fact, a police report shows, in the case with Sammy Lewis, parents even sent kids through the gate waiting to see if the kids would get all the way inside. Waiting to see if the passes were any good before paying for them.

By phone, one victim didn’t like hearing the I TEAM reveal con men getting plea deals and probation. He said, "Their punishment doesn't fit the crime. They ripped off me, my friends… Lesson learned for me. I'll never do that again. It's better to be proactive and buy tickets through a secure source."

Meantime, we also reached out to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office. Late Monday, Prosecutor Michael O’Malley released a statement saying, “These thieves are targeting and befriending the unsuspecting fans of our great city.

We will continue to prosecute them to send the message that this will not be tolerated in our city.”

More on counterfeit tickets.

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