Hutchinson Kansas State Fair officials have fired four longtime gate workers accused of not ripping tickets, then reselling them to make a profit.
The Kansas Highway Patrol has launched a full-scale investigation into the scam, which it says may have been carried out for several years. The four ticket sellers and takers were fired on Tuesday, said fair General Manager Bill Ogg.
No one has been charged in the case. Highway patrol Lt. Randy Moon said a post-fair audit is planned before any complaints are filed with the Reno County District Attorney.
Instead of tearing the tickets in half and putting them in a metal box used to calculate attendance, Moon said, a taker would keep the whole ticket and return it to the sales booth. A seller then allegedly resold the ticket, pocketing the proceeds and splitting them with the others involved, Moon said.
Investigators have not determined the amount of money stolen, and Moon said they aren't confining the web of the scam to the four fired employees.
"Right now, we have reason to believe that this has gone on at at least one gate in the past," he said. "We had information last year that a problem like this might exist."
Moon said investigators expect to file criminal complaints in the case eventually.
"Given the nature and the extent we think this crime took, we need time to go through all the necessary sales records to see the extent of what's been done and how many people might be involved," he said.
Meanwhile, the fair is scheduled to continue, despite falling attendance after Tuesday's terrorist attacks.