New Jersey disbarred Frank N. Tobolsky in 2018 after catching him trying to raid his clients’ escrow account. But skimming $32,000 out of escrow actually amounted to small potatoes for Tobolsky, who just pleaded guilty to wire fraud arising from a $2.4 million phony seat licensing scheme.
Personal seat licenses are a shady scam in the first place, but they exist to help wealthy team owners fleece the fans so they are entirely legal. Instead of buying season tickets, fans must first buy a license to a seat that then gives them the right to purchase season tickets. If they don’t renew their season tickets, they forfeit the right to the seat rendering the whole thing functionally just a giant surcharge on top of your tickets designed to guarantee that, along with the massive tax breaks the teams con cities into granting, the owners never have to actually spend their own money to build a new stadium. As Bleacher Report once put it, “Broken down quite simply, a personal seat license is the dumbest purchase you will ever make: a payment that allows you to pay for something else you want.”
The problem is, when you bless an arcane, shady process as legal, you just make it easier to plausibly conceal arcane, shady, illegal activity.
As many fans don’t have the kind of upfront payment required to buy these seat licenses, they could theoretically take out loans for it, which is where Tobolsky came in. Starting in 2013, he convinced…