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The Illinois Attorney General’s office today announced that AG Lisa Madigan has reached a settlement with Rolling Meadows-based ticket-resale operation TicketsNow, a subsidiary of Ticketmaster, after an investigation stemming from complaints by Hannah Montana and Bruce Springsteen fans (among others) who felt the sellers had misled them.

The investigation showed that TicketsNow was using a series of sock-puppet Web sites that gave users the impression that (a) they were buying directly from the concert promoters or the venue itself and (b) they were paying face value for the tickets. In truth they were buying basically scalped tickets at a significant markup. As part of the settlement, TicketsNow has already taken down 100 (!) such sites.

Other terms of the settlement include a $50K fine, a requirement that TicketsNow let customers know that they’re buying secondary-market tickets at what may be much more than face value, and a ban on non-sporting-event sales by TicketsNow until after Ticketmaster has made face-value tickets available to the general public.

The damage to Ticketmaster’s reputation from this settlement? I figure it’ll be like putting a ding in the bumper of the rusted-out abandoned car in the empty lot on your block that no one can get the city to take away.