Home Luggage Baggage claim: two men accused of stealing $ 550,000 from airlines in lost baggage scam

Baggage claim: two men accused of stealing $ 550,000 from airlines in lost baggage scam

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These guys now have a lot of baggage, authorities say.

Two frequent travelers from Louisiana have been charged with stealing more than $ 500,000 from airlines by filing dozens of false lost baggage claims, prosecutors said.

Pernell Anthony Jones, Jr., 31, of Kenner, and Donmonick Martin, 29, of Chalmette, are accused of defrauding numerous airlines, filing lost baggage claims after 180 flights to and from originated from Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans, although he never traveled with bags, according to court documents.

Prosecutors claim that from 2015, Jones would purchase tickets for flights online using fake identities and pre-loaded gift cards. He would then present a fake ID at the airport and collect a baggage claim ticket after paying the checked baggage fee, but not actually checking in a bag.

Upon landing, prosecutors said Jones would notify the airline they had lost his baggage and file a claim that the bag contained valuables worth more than $ 3,500, the maximum compensation. authorized by law. He would put Martin’s address on the request, according to court documents.

When the bag didn’t show up after a month, airlines would pay the $ 3,500, sending a check to Martin’s home in Chalmette, prosecutors said. In total, airlines, including American Airlines AAL,
+ 2.34%,
United Airlines UAL,
+ 2.78%,
JBLU jet blue,
+ 2.03%,
Southwest Airlines LUV,
+ 1.01%
and Alaska Airlines ALK,
+1.66%
– paid Jones and Martin $ 550,000, prosecutors said.

Jones and Martin are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Jones faces up to 20 years and Martin up to five years if convicted.

Jones and Martin could not immediately be reached for comment and it was not immediately clear whether they had hired lawyers. Martin’s first court appearance was scheduled for October 6 and Jones’s for October 13.

An American Airlines spokesperson said, “We are delighted that the Department of Justice is pursuing this matter.” A representative for Southwest made no comment and messages sent to other airlines were not immediately returned.

In 2020, airlines lost just 0.04% of the nearly 209 million bags they handled in the United States, according to the US Department of Transportation. Most of them were eventually recovered and returned to their owners, with only 5% of those that went missing were never found.


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