Two Nebraska State Patrol cruisers pose outside Memorial Stadium. (Courtesy of the Nebraska State Patrol)
LINCOLN — The lines in the ad seem clear: “Have you ever wondered what it would be like to watch a Nebraska football game with a Husker legend? This season, we’ve teamed up with Husker playmakers to create memorable Game Day Experiences to raise money and awareness for the charities they support.”
Starting in 2022, a non-university-affiliated organization started advertising two luxury suite tickets, access to a Husker and social media validation from a former player.
The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office says more than 50 people paid at least $1,000 each and did not receive the experience they were sold.
In a consumer protection lawsuit filed Thursday, the state said Nfluence and Kenneth Jason McCants of Memphis, Neb., donated none of the promised money directly to a charity. The lawsuit accuses them of “deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce … failure to disclose information, misrepresentation, deceptive representation, and fraudulent representation.”
For a time, they got a promotional boost from Adam Carriker, who played defensive line for the University of Nebraska. He later explained online that he had been duped.
Donors from Nebraska and other states gave the group at least $87,000 for the “Nebraska Game Day Experience,” according to the lawsuit. The money was spent on Disneyland tickets, purchases in Hawaii and personal expenses, including subscriptions to entertainment streaming services, the state alleges.
The lawsuit asked a judge to stop Nfluence and McCants from selling the packages. Attorney General Mike Hilgers released a video on social media urging Nebraska fans to be careful buying tickets online. In the video, he stands near Memorial Stadium and tells fans they should buy tickets only from known, reputable dealers to avoid “scams.”
“Ticket scams are on the rise as fraudsters use ever more sophisticated techniques to trick Nebraskans into buying fake tickets,” Hilgers said in the video.
The AG warned people not to buy from unsolicited online offers for tickets and to use a credit card to buy tickets because it is easier to be refunded in the cause of fraud. NU Athletics Director Trev Alberts retweeted the video, saying “Important information! Please watch. GBR.”
The AG’s Office says Nfluence offered customers less expensive, less exclusive general admission tickets than advertised and sometimes no tickets. Promised perks like a personal thank you message from a Husker for the donations never materialized. Nor did the people who received tickets sit with Huskers.
The state’s lawyer in the case, Justin McCully, alleged that Nfluence and McCants violated the Consumer Protect Act and the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Efforts to reach Nfluence and McCants on Thursday were not immediately successful.
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