Man convicted in UGA-Notre Dame ticket scam now wanted on escape charge

Jeffrey Martin Cook
Jeffrey Martin Cook

A man who last year became public enemy No. 1 to many University of Georgia football fans hungry for tickets to the Bulldogs’ September 2017 clash with Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, is now considered a man on the run.

Jeffery Martin Cook, 56, of Putnam County, was arrested last year on charges that included selling sports tickets without a license.

He was convicted in the case late last month, found guilty of nine counts of misdemeanor theft by taking. Cook was sentenced to probation — and to repay nine of his victims a collective total of $8,250 — and to serve 180 days in the Putnam jail in Eatonton.

His jail stay was to begin Friday morning at 9 o’clock, but he never showed.

In a text message to The Telegraph a few hours later, Sheriff Howard Sills said, “I was standing next to him at the time of sentence and (the judge) very specifically explained to him that he would be charged with escape should he fail to surrender.”

Sills said that in recent days Cook had emailed his probation officer asking to delay his jail stay so that he could help take care of his ailing father, but that request was denied.

Cook’s online deals left dozens of fans without tickets, tickets they had paid for in advance to attend the Notre Dame game. The tickets were perhaps the hardest-to-get ever for a UGA road game.

Officials in Putnam County last year said they received about 30 complaints from people across the region who had paid to acquire tickets from Cook.

Some of the people received their tickets and those who didn’t, in some cases, were refunded.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.

Georgia running back Nick Chubb spoke about the fans who made the trip to South Bend, Indiana, for Saturday's win over Notre Dame.