Fired Gophers ticket director charged in alleged long-running ticket-order scheme
A former University of Minnesota ticketing director has been charged in federal court with enriching himself through a long-running scheme involving football and men’s hockey and basketball ticket orders.
Brent A. Holck, 37, of Maple Grove, was charged Tuesday in federal court in Minneapolis with wire fraud in connection with the siphoning of money from April 2012 to January 2017.
Holck’s attorney, Peter Wold, said Wednesday that his client “has been taking responsibility for this all along.” He intends to plead guilty and is working toward making restitution, Wold said.
Neither Wold nor the U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed how much ill-gotten gains came to Holck. The charging document listed a single fraudulent ticket transaction three years into his scheme resulting in Holck receiving $1,500.
Public records show Holck was earning more than $90,000 as of 2015 in base annual salary overseeing sales to games, concerts and other events on campus.
Holck was fired in February 2017 after the university’s office of internal audit discovered discrepancies in ticket transaction records. Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle said at the time that the FBI’s investigation into the matter focused on an alleged “sophisticated scheme” dating to 2011.
Gophers Communications Director Paul Rovnak said the school’s Office of Internal Audit “assisted us in improving our processes and procedures to better control our ticket distribution.”
The criminal complaint said Holck would locate completed sales in the university’s ticketing system — often after an event has occurred — delete orders and have refunds issued to accounts under his control.
He also exploited his position with the Athletic Department by issuing tickets and parking passes to personal or business acquaintances, who then sold those tickets and gave the majority of the proceeds to Holck.
Both Wold and Coyle said Holck acted alone. Holck’s wife, Jessica Holck, was not under investigation and remains director of events for the Golden Gophers Fund.
In a statement issued when the scheme was first publicly disclosed by the university in June 2017, U officials said, “It’s important to note, this activity did not have any direct financial impact on fans. No fan lost a single dollar as a result of this activity.”
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482