Kansas Athletics Inc. has collected nearly $500,000 toward defraying at least $2 million in losses from a scheme in which employees stole football and basketball tickets for redistribution through brokers and others.
As of this week, the department thus far had recovered a total of $496,952 lost in the scheme. An internal investigation conducted for Kansas University determined that thefts involved more than 17,000 tickets for regular-season basketball games and at least 2,000 tickets for football games.
The recovered revenue comes from two sources: $250,000 from a settlement on an insurance policy Kansas Athletics carried to protect against employee theft and $246,952 from defendants convicted in federal court as participants in the scheme.
Here are defendants ordered to pay restitution, identified along with their locations in federal custody and expected release dates:
• Ben Kirtland, former associate athletic director for development, is west of Boston and scheduled for release in August 2015.
• Charlette Blubaugh, former associate athletic director for ticket operations, is in Fort Worth, Texas, scheduled for release in July 2015.
• Thomas Blubaugh, Charlette Blubaugh’s husband and a former consultant to the ticket office, is west of Oklahoma City, scheduled for release in October 2014.
• Rodney Jones, former assistant athletic director for the Williams Fund, also is west of Oklahoma City, scheduled for release in September 2014.
• Kassie Liebsch, a former systems analyst who assumed ticket operations following Charlette Blubaugh’s resignation, is in Illinois, east of St. Louis, scheduled for release in January 2014.
Two other former employees have paid money back to the department through garnishments of wages. Those employees, Jason Jeffries and Brandon Simmons, were convicted of failing to notify authorities about the scheme.
Kansas Athletics has recovered nearly $157,000 during the past seven months. Back in May, the department reported having received nearly $340,000: $250,000 from the insurance settlement plus $64,500 from Kirtland and nearly $25,500 total from Jeffries and Simmons.