The Canadian citizen who resides in Hong Kong had previously pleaded guilty to bilking the airline out of more than $35,000 by using reimbursement codes reserved for “secret shoppers.”
A commercial airline pilot who reportedly liked to boast about his prowess for earning free travel was finally forced to face the music in a Canadian courtroom in December. According to court records, Marc Anthony Tacchi was ordered to pay restitution of $36,551.27 to Air Canada, to complete 20 hours of community service and serve a supervised conditional release for six months.
The 44-year-old Cathay Dragon pilot, who is a citizen of Canada with residency in Hong Kong, previously pleaded guilty to criminal charges stemming from a scam which saw Air Canada taken for tens-of-thousands-of-dollars-worth of unpaid flights. The scheme involved fraudulently using flight privileges reserved for “secret shoppers” to evaluate the airline. Tacchi illegally used codes obtained through an accomplice who worked for the firm that provided secret shopper reports for Air Canada. The pilot, in some cases, managed to fly first class and even earn frequent flyer miles without paying for tickets dozens of times. In one instance, Tacchi admitted to making and selling ill-gotten bookings to other associates.
“The amount involved in these frauds is not insubstantial,” Judge Patrick Chen wrote in Tacchi’s sentencing documents. “The sole motivation for these offenses was greed. The accused used a fake name and fake address when filling out forms to perpetrate some of the frauds.”
According to the Vancouver Sun, Tacchi fraudulently booked travel through the elaborate scam several times between March and July of 2013. Judge Chen cited the fact that the aviator has stayed out of trouble since then as one of the mitigating factors that led to the relatively light sentence.
Several posts on the FlyerTalk thread discussing the onetime member’s fall from grace, note that the pilot was known to post to discussions under the handle “mtacchi” and earned a reputation for being somewhat proud of his skill at earning free travel through creative means. The professional pilot even appears to have briefly maintained a blog focusing on just such endeavors – including “The Great Canadian Mileage Run 2005.”