Sioux City, Iowa — A Hull woman who admitted to devising a scheme to defraud and obtain money through the United States Mail as part of a scheme to sell fraudulent sports and conert tickets has been sentenced to more than four years in federal prison.
49-year old Ranae Van Roekel of Hull received the prison term after a July 29, 2016, guilty plea to one count of mail fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. According to court records, Van Roekel’s scheme involved selling non-existent tickets and accommodations to various sporting events, including the Super Bowl, over a four-year time frame. After her plea of guilty and while pending sentencing, federal prosecutors say Van Roekel engaged in another scheme to defraud by selling non-existent gift bags.
Van Roekel appeared in Federal District Court in Sioux City Thursday afternoon, where District Judge Mark W. Bennett sentenced her to 51-months in federal prison. She was also ordered to pay a $200 special assessment, and was ordered to make $467,966.99 restitution to her victims. She must also serve a 3-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.
During Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Judge Bennett said that Van Roekel’s scheme had “wreaked havoc on many people’s lives.” Glenn Lange, one of the victims of Van Roekel’s crimes, described how he had purchased Super Bowl tickets from Van Roekel at a fund-raiser for a cancer patient. Lange said that the tickets were intended for the cancer patient, but the tickets were never delivered. Judge Bennett noted the aggravating nature of the fraud occurring at a fund raiser for a cancer victim. Bennett also described how Van Roekel’s scheme had defrauded friends and family members and that defendant had never apologized for her actions. Judge Bennett characterized Van Roekel’s lack of apology to her friends and neighbors as “inexcusable” to the court.
According to federal prosecutors, Van Roekel was released on the bond previously set and is to surrender to the United States Marshal on a date yet to be set.
Original story posted 10:26 am 5/12/17
Sioux City, Iowa — A Hull woman who has been facing federal charges in connection with a fraudulent ticket selling scheme has now been sentenced.
According to court documents, federal charges of Mail Fraud, and Making and Subscribing False Income Tax Return were filed against 49-year-old Ranae Harriet Van Roekel.
The documents go on to state that Van Roekel pled guilty in a plea agreement.
Personnel with the Federal Clerk of Court’s Office in Sioux City confirm that the minutes of the hearing indicate that Van Roekel was sentenced to 51 months in prison or over four years. However, they indicated that the sentence would not be official until the judge signed off on it.
Court documents accused Van Roekel of using the internet, phone networks, and the U.S. Mail to defraud people attempting to buy tickets through her home-based business, “Get ‘Em Tickets Now”, from January, 2008 through June, 2012. She obtained money through the mail from customers, claiming to have access to tickets to various events, including the 2012 Super Bowl, which she did not have. Court documents say she went so far as to claim to be a member of the Super Bowl Planning Committee. She is specifically charged for receiving a check through the mail for $1,664 for four pre-purchased tickets to the 2012 Super Bowl. All told, Van Roekel is charged with fraudulently obtaining more than a half million dollars.
The false income tax return charge alleges that Van Roekel knowingly filed a false and fraudulent Federal Income Tax Form 1040 for the 2010 calendar year.
A sentencing memorandum from her attorney before the sentencing had asked for a lenient sentence due to many factors including the assertion that, “…the scheme to defraud was not borne out of greed or for financial gain. It was borne out of a spiraling fraudulent payback scheme.” It goes on to say that the spiraling scheme was not a sophisticated one, but rather one “of paybacks and over-paybacks.” It also went on to say that Van Roekel likely has an “undiagnosed spending disorder.”
Both sides agreed on a sentencing range of between 41 and 51 months, which was set out in a federal sentencing formula.