Wichita — Thomas Blubaugh, a former consultant to Kansas Athletics Inc., is headed to prison for his role in tickets scheme that prosecutors say cost the department at least $2 million.
Whether, or when, his wife joins him in custody is set to be determined later this week.
Blubaugh, 46, was sentenced to 46 months in prison, plus three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He had pleaded guilty to the charge in January, and is the third person to be sentenced on the charge that a Kansas University investigation determined had involved the theft and distribution for personal gain of more than 17,000 men’s basketball tickets and more than 2,000 football tickets.
“I offer no excuse for my actions, because there is none,” Blubaugh said in court Wednesday in Wichita.
U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown also ordered Blubaugh to pay up to about $841,000 in restitution to Kansas Athletics. He and his wife also are responsible for paying the IRS $268,292 for unreported taxes.
Brown sentenced Blubaugh in the same courtroom where Blubaugh’s wife, Charlette Blubaugh, is set to face sentencing on the same charge Thursday.
Charlette Blubaugh is former director of the department’s ticket office, holding that job until her resignation in early 2010. That’s when federal investigators had been checking into missing tickets, and suspected illegal sales through brokers and distribution to others.
Rodney Jones, former associate athletics director for the Williams Fund, already has been sentenced to spend 46 months in prison. Kassie Liebsch, a former systems analyst who had taken over the tickets job upon Charlette Blubaugh’s departure — only to resign upon their indictment in November — has been sentenced to 37 months in prison.
Still awaiting sentencing next month is Ben Kirtland, former associate athletics director for development.
The conspirators all share responsibility for a $2 million forfeiture judgment, intended to ensure that none of them retain any profits from their illegal activities.
Two other former Kansas Athletics employees — Jason Jeffries and Brandon Simmons — earlier had been granted probation after pleading guilty to their failure to notify authorities about the scam.
Authorities say the theft of tickets occurred from 2005 to 2010.