Wichita Prosecutors on Wednesday urged a judge to reject a request by a former consultant for Kansas University to have his sentence shortened in a ticket scalping conspiracy that he helped conceal.
Thomas Blubaugh pleaded guilty last year to a single count of conspiracy to defraud the United States through wire fraud, tax obstruction and interstate transportation of stolen property.
He has asked a judge to reduce his 46-month prison sentence to 33 months, arguing the court improperly considered the value of so-called deadwood tickets that he had hidden in a private storage facility. Blubaugh also claims he had ineffective counsel and was promised probation in return for helping the government.
In a court filing Wednesday, prosecutors urged U.S. District Judge Monti Belot to deny the request and urged Belot to enforce the plea agreement that prohibits Blubaugh from appealing his conviction and sentence.
Blubaugh and his wife, Charlette, the university’s former ticket director, were among seven people convicted in a scheme involving tickets to football and basketball games that cost the university athletic department $2 million.
Blubaugh challenged his sentence in a pleading from prison in which he claims the court erred in allowing the government to use information he provided to adjust the amount of loss attributed to him. He argued his plea agreement prohibited the government from using the previously concealed deadwood tickets he turned over in determining his guideline sentence.
He also contended the court relied heavily “on hearsay, assumptions and inferences” about the deadwood tickets.
In his response, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Hathaway said authorities already knew about the deadwood tickets. Hathaway cited a May 2010 investigative report by the university, which recounted that Charlette Blubaugh told other defendants that basketball ticket sales could not be reconciled and that those records should be moved to the football stadium. The records would then be destroyed and conspirators would blame their loss on construction at the stadium, the university found.
Charlette Blubaugh then told investigators in December 2010 that the missing deadwood tickets were destroyed by water damage due to the construction, Hathaway said.
“The only revelation provided by defendant Thomas Blubaugh was the fact that instead of destroying the tickets they had been stored in private storage facility for which the Blubaughs had been paying the monthly fees,” Hathaway wrote.
Prosecutors also took issue with Thomas Blubaugh’s complaint that he got a longer sentence than most other defendants, calling him the “right hand helper to his wife who is arguably the most culpable and placed the ball in play that started this criminal enterprise.”
Prosecutors argued against the ineffective counsel claim by noting that his defense attorney had vigorously pressed those issues in two sentencing memorandums and at the sentencing hearing. They said an attorney is not ineffective simply for failing to win an argument.