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Flyers Accused of Scamming Airlines for Over $500,000 Face Prison Time

Two flyers are accused of scamming over $550,000 through filing fake claims for lost luggage. Pernell Anthony Jones, Jr. and Donmonick Martin, both of Louisiana, could face prison time and fines if convicted if convicted for their alleged crimes.

Two Louisiana-based flyers could spend time behind bars and face up to $250,000 in fines on accusations they used fake lost luggage claims to scam air carriers out of over $550,000. In a press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana announced 31-year-old Pernell Anthony Jones, Jr. and 29-year-old Donmonick Martin, both of Louisiana, were charged with counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

Partners Allegedly Used Fake Identifications and Claim Tickets to Scam Airlines

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the scam began in 2015, when Jones and other co-conspirators would purchase tickets aboard many major U.S. airlines under fake identities, including American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. To get into the airport, they would provide fake ID cards.

Upon arrival at their destination, Jones and others involved would file a lost luggage claim with the airline, falsely accusing them of losing luggage during the flight. When the airline was unable to find the non-existent bags, Jones would then push for reimbursement.

During the time of the scam, Jones attempted to request around $550,000 in reimbursement. Attorneys allege he was successful in getting over $300,000 in payouts using his scam, with checks mailed to him via the U.S. Postal Service. Martin was charged for his part in the scam, accused of filing a fake claim with American after flying to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY).

If convicted, Jones could face up to 20 years in federal prison for each count and a fine of $250,000 or the greater of what the airlines lost, or what he gained in the scam. Martin is facing a five-year prison term, along with the same fines.

Action Latest Prosecution for Travel-Related Scams

The new charges are the latest move to prosecute travelers involved in scams targeting the airline and travel industries. In November 2020, a Ukrainian-American travel agent was ordered to pay Delta Air Lines $1 million in restitution over a scam involving the corporate SkyBonus program.