Defrauding Chicago’s Legendary Team
The jury needed less than five hours to decide whether a rooftop owner defrauded the Chicago Cubs. On July 22, 2016, a jury convicted Marc Hamid of fraud and illegal bank structuring. Hamid had once been co-owner of Skybox on Sheffield, a rooftop that charges clients to drink, eat, and watch Chicago Cubs games from outside the field. Additionally, Hamid owned two ticket brokerage companies, JustGreatTickets.com and Just Great Seats. Following his indictment in March, Hamid was terminated and relieved of his duties and involvement with the Skybox on Sheffield.
In 2004, the Chicago Cubs and rooftop owners surrounding the outfield entered into a contract that guaranteed 17 percent royalties to the Cubs and was based on attendance. Hamid was found guilty of purposefully under reporting attendance and the revenue made through the Skybox on Sheffield. Hamid did this by “zeroing out” invoices and charging customers through his two ticketing companies instead of through the Skybox on Sheffield. Additionally, he short changed Illinois by submitting false sales tax and he shorted Cook County and Chicago by submitting false amusement tax.
In total, the federal prosecutor accused Hamid of failing to report $1.5 million in sales. However, the defense attorneys estimated the figure was lower. During the trial, he proved the prosecutors had made flaws in calculating the amounts owed to the Cubs, Illinois, Chicago, and Cook County. However, the number is still in the multiple of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Allegedly, Hamid paid for luxury cars and other expenses with the excess and unreported money.
The sentencing hearing is set for December 6, 2016. The maximum sentence of the most serious counts is 20 years.