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‘Hot tickets’ lead to criminal charges for Kevin Hart fan

It was unclear in Erie County Court this week whether Leland Burks was a big Kevin Hart fan or if he just knew that the popular comedian’s show at First Niagara Center would be a hot ticket.

Either way, the tickets Burks had for the show were hot in more ways than one, according to prosecutor Gary Ertel.

Burks, 55, stood before Judge Kenneth F. Case Thursday to be arraigned on two counts of first degree identity theft and one count of scheming to defraud for using stolen credit card numbers to buy tickets to Hart’s April 17, 2015 show. Prosecutors also say Burks not only wanted to see the star, he claimed to be part of Hart’s entourage when he used the stolen ID to book hotel rooms in town.

The expenditures topped $12,700.

Ertel declined to reveal if Burks was selling the tickets and rooms or hosting a party for the show,.

“He could only sit in one seat and sleep in one bed,” is all that Ertel would say.

Part of the delay in the arraignment was that Burks was jailed in Alabama on an earlier conviction for possessing stolen credit cards, one of which belonged to a district judge, Ertel said.

Burks pleaded not guilty. If convicted of these charge, he faces mandatory prison time because of his record. The maximum sentence would be seven to 14 years.