Another former ticket manager for Kansas Athletics Inc. and her husband are set to plead guilty to a scheme that converted stolen basketball and football tickets into tax-free cash through sales by ticket brokers.
If Charlette and Tom Blubaugh admit their guilt next week as scheduled, only one defendant would remain in the case that has sent seven former department employees to face charges in federal court: Ben Kirtland, former associate athletics director for development, whose trial for conspiracy is scheduled to begin Feb. 15.
Charlette Blubaugh and her husband would join four other defendants who already have agreed to testify, if necessary.
“She’s just looking forward to getting this over with,” said John Rapp, one of Charlette Blubaugh’s attorneys.
The Blubaughs — Charlette, who had been an assistant athletics director, and Tom, who had been a paid consultant — are scheduled to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Charlette Blubaugh’s hearing is set for 10 a.m. Jan. 27 before Judge Wesley Brown in U.S. District Court in Wichita, while Tom Blubaugh is scheduled to appear a day later.
Rapp said his client’s hearing would be similar to those conducted last week involving two other co-conspirators: Kassie Liebsch, who succeeded Charlette Blubaugh as ticket manager after several years as a systems analyst; and Rodney Jones, who had been an assistant athletics director in charge of the Williams Fund.
Liebsch and Jones admitted to taking part in a conspiracy to divert tickets from Kansas Athletics, then provide the tickets to brokers in exchange for cash while avoiding payment of taxes on the illegal proceeds.
As part of their plea agreements, Liebsch and Jones joined two other former coworkers — Jason Jeffries and Brandon Simmons, who earlier pleaded guilty to failing to disclose the scam — in agreeing to cooperate with authorities and testify against others.