ATHENS — The self-professed ticket broker from Lake Oconee who stiffed dozens of Georgia fans for Notre Dame tickets in 2017 is on the run.
Jeff Cook was supposed to report to the Putnam County Jail on Friday morning to begin serving a 180-day sentence. But he did not show as ordered by the court, and Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills was hopping mad about it.
“As we speak, a warrant is being obtained for his arrest charging him with felonious escape,” said Sills, speaking by telephone while vacationing on the Georgia coast. “I was present in court when he was sentenced, I made this case and he was specifically instructed by the chief judge of our circuit that he was to surrender at 9 a.m. this morning. He has not and I’m getting ready to send the hounds to find him.”
Earlier this year, Cook pleaded guilty to nine counts of theft and one count of selling tickets without a license, according to Sills. After release, Cook is to serve nine years of probation. Cook is also banned from all UGA athletic events and from UGA property.
Cook originally was ordered to make restitution to more than 60 victims who had responded to his advertisements that he could provide tickets to the 2017 Georgia game at Notre Dame. UGA received only 8,000 tickets from the Fighting Irish for that game in 80,000-seat Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind., so demand on the secondary market was tremendous. Eventually, Bulldogs’ fans made up nearly half the crowd at the game, which Georgia won 20-19.
Cook made restitution to the majority of his victims, but not all, Sills said. That resulted in the nine theft charges on which he eventually was convicted.
But now he’s facing even more trouble by not reporting to jail as ordered.
“I had a sneaky feeling as I stood next to him and his lawyer in court that this might happen,” Sills said. “That’s why I told the jail let me know if he didn’t show up. … So if anybody knows the whereabouts of this individual, please contact the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office at 706-485-8557. We will bring him back from most anywhere in America.”
DawgNation first reported last summer that dozens of Georgia fans were left without tickets to the Notre Dame game.