Sports

Ex-Suns staffer pleads guilty to illicit ticket sales

A former Phoenix Suns ticket manager has pleaded guilty to illicitly selling more than 2,800 of the team’s tickets through a third party from 2017 to 2019 and agreed to pay $458,218 to the team in restitution, according to a plea agreement filed in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Jeffrey Marcussen, who worked for the Suns from 2004 to 2019, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 7 on felony fraud and theft charges. Such charges together could carry a maximum 13-year prison sentence, but, in the plea agreement submitted to the judge, prosecutors have instead asked for probation with, at most, a year in jail. Marcussen must also pay $1,780 to the Arizona Attorney General’s anti-racketeering revolving fund and $11,818 to the Arizona Department of Revenue, according to court records.

The matter involving Marcussen, 44, is not tied to the NBA’s investigation into the Phoenix Suns and majority owner Robert Sarver.

According to court records, Marcussen was indicted in September 2020 on four felonies, including two counts for filing false tax returns. Prosecutors allege that Marcussen sold the tickets on StubHub, an online ticket retail site, without authorization. The Suns don’t sell tickets on the platform.

“StubHub contacted the NBA when it discovered five different Stub Hub accounts all linked to the Defendant,” prosecutors wrote in a November 2020 response to Marcussen’s motion to modify release conditions and to travel out of state. “After an internal audit by the Phoenix Suns Organization, which included a confession by the Defendant, law enforcement investigated the case. The investigation revealed, and bank records confirmed, that the Defendant received a total payout from Stub Hub for $458,218.”

Suns employees were notified via a company-wide email in late June 2019 that Marcussen was no longer employed by the team, though no reason was stated in the email, team sources said. In the team’s 2018-19 media guide, Marcussen’s title was listed as Assistant Director, Suns Ticketing.

Neither the Suns nor the Arizona Attorney General’s office responded to requests for comment.

In a statement to ESPN, Marcussen’s attorney Mark Kokanovich said, “Jeff worked for the Phoenix Suns for close to 20 years. After the cold-blooded tragic murder of his brother near the end of Jeff’s career with the Suns, Jeff began selling tickets without team approval. Jeff admitted to the sales and reimbursed the team while cooperating with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.”

Marcussen’s brother, Thomas, was killed in 2014.

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