Man Gets 8 Years for Seeking Murder of Witness In Scalping Case
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A former restaurant owner has been sentenced to eight years in prison for trying to buy the murder of a witness in a Los Angeles Rams ticket-scalping case.
H. Daniel Whitman, 55, of South Lake Tahoe, also was fined $10,000 Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Francis Whelan.
Whitman was convicted July 18 on four counts, including conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to deprive a witness of his civil rights. A previous conviction had been overturned on appeal.
The man whom Whitman contacted about killing witness Raymond Cohen was a government informant and the murder wasn’t committed.
The case stemmed from an alleged scheme to ″scalp″ 1980 Super Bowl tickets by selling them for more than their face value.
Dominic Frontiere, husband of Rams owner Georgia Frontiere, was indicted in June on charges of tax evasion in connection with the alleged ticket scalping.
According to a 1985 account by Frontiere, his friend Whitman suggested the scheme and Frontiere, who was engaged to the Rams owner at the time, gave Cohen about 1,800 tickets two weeks before the game and told him to get as much as possible for them.
Frontiere’s account, provided by his attorney, Bruce I. Hochman, did not say where he got the tickets.
Frontiere, an Emmy Award-winning composer, said Cohen sold most of the tickets and gave him about $100,000, which he put in a safe deposit box.
But, he alleged, Cohen later extorted the money from him, claiming the Los Angeles head of the Mafia demanded it.
Cohen, a government informant, reportedly told federal officials about the scalping scheme, and Internal Revenue Service agents questioned both Whitman and Frontiere.
Whitman, who formerly owned restaurants in Lake Tahoe and on the Sunset Strip, then plotted Cohen’s death, according to prosecutors in the case.
In court papers filed Tuesday, Frontiere’s attorneys said the tax-evasion indictment against their client is ″a no-tax tax case″ because even if Frontiere had received money for scalped tickets, he would not have owed any of it to the government.
An accompanying statement explained that Frontiere and his wife declared a loss of $700,000 in 1980. The lawyers said that loss would have offset any revenue from the tickets.
In a motion seeking access to government files on the case, the lawyers complained about a grant of immunity for Cohen. It quoted a member of the Justice Department Strike Force as having described Cohen as ″a liar, a cheat and an individual unworthy of belief.″