Louisiana Man Pleads Guilty in Big Money Airline Fraud Case
If you've flown more than a couple of times, you've likely felt the stinging realization that your bags were misplaced. Sometimes, it's a simple mix-up that can be easily sorted. Other times, you learn that your luggage is on its own little trip to a completely different location or worse - airline workers have no idea where your baggage is. It happens a lot more than you think.
If the Airline Loses Your Luggage - They Pay You For It!
It happens so much, in fact, that most major airlines have a policy in place to soothe angry passengers that are no where near home and only have the clothes on their back. The program is called: "Lost Baggage Reimbursement," and it basically allows the airline to calculate the cost of your luggage and the headache of having it lost. Then, officials can cut you a check to replace your travel essentials. Sounds like a good idea, right? It is, until criminals figure out a way to use the system to commit fraud to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This Louisiana Man Gamed the System to Defraud the Airlines Out of Big Money
That's exactly what happened in the case of Pernell Anthony Jones. According to the report from KLFY, this 31-year-old Kenner, Louisiana resident plead guilty last week to multiple counts of Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud claiming lost airline luggage. Jones won't be sentenced until February 24th of 2022, but he's facing a maximum of 20 years in person or a fine of $250,000 for up to three years of supervised release and more for each count.
Pernell Anthony Jones Could Be Going To Prison for Hundreds of Years
When you take a look at the official press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, we could be talking about hundreds of years! Officials say that Jones and his unnamed co-conspirators submitted an astonishing 180 false claims to commercial airlines, including American, Alaska, Southwest, United, and JetBlue, requesting over $550,000 in reimbursement. Reportedly, this criminal scheme had already received $300,000 through these fraudulent claims.
This Louisiana Crook Has Been Defrauding the Airlines for Years
Investigators say that Jones and company were running this scheme as far back as 2015. In fact, in 2018 Jones was arrested on his way to a TSA airport screening. He was found to be in possession of 36 fake driver’s licenses and 47 credit cards under fake names. In 2020, he was arrested for trying to pass a fraudulent reimbursement check. A subsequent search of his residence turned up 34 fake driver's licenses; 21 fake work identification cards, and several airline employee badges with his photograph on them.