The Palace of Versailles. Photo courtesy Michal Osmenda and Wikimedia Commons.
First it was suspected counterfeit chairs, and now, counterfeit tickets—the Palace of Versailles is having a rough year. Five employees of the opulent tourist attraction were indicted for fraud on Monday, after French police confirmed a fake ticket conspiracy suspected by innocent colleagues, Le Parisien reports.
Three men and two women, aged 26 to 34, allegedly sold re-used and counterfeit tickets to tourists paying in cash. Employees at the welcome desk issued the fraudulent tickets, and staff members at the castle’s entrance accepted them, without putting them through the ticket-taking machine. When a co-worker noticed that some tickets were not being scanned, he notified the authorities, who arrested the five. One of whom allegedly had 150 fake tickets on his person at the time of the arrest.
The scheme is suspected to have been led by a seasonal employee, who worked at the historic site in the busy summer months. The co-conspirators coordinated their schedules via text message, investigators confirmed. In all, the plot is estimated to have cost the historic estate €250,000 ($275,000) in damages, beginning in August, although authorities are now looking into the whole of 2016. Tickets to the Versailles Palace and estate cost anywhere from €6 to €25, and the fake tickets were reportedly being sold for €10 a pop, which the suspects likely pocketed.