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Feds say ex-United Center worker sent phony ticket refunds to himself

An exterior of Chicago's United Center on July 30, 2015. | Saiyna Bashir/Sun-Times.

A former United Center worker allegedly scammed more than a half-million dollars out of his ex-employer by sending ticket refunds that customers never asked for to his own accounts.

Now Bryan P. Charnot, of Chicago, faces a federal wire fraud charge, court records show. His arraignment at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse has been set for Jan. 10. His attorney declined to comment.

The document used to charge Charnot does not specifically name the United Center. But United Center officials confirmed it is the “Business A” referred to in the five-page document filed Friday. They also declined to comment.

Federal prosecutors used an information to charge Charnot, which typically means a defendant is preparing to plead guilty.

The Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks play at the United Center, but their ticket offices are separate from the arena’s. The feds say Charnot worked as a premium seating manager for the United Center and had access to its online ticketing system.

Between March 2016 and August 2017, Charnot allegedly logged in to the system at least 75 times, accessed a customer’s account and initiated an unauthorized refund request for an event that had already taken place.

The feds say he then sent the refunds to credit or debit card accounts he controlled.

By doing so, they say he put his hands on $598,098.