A number of US airlines, including American Airlines (A1G) (AAL), Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines (LUV) and United Airlines have fallen prey to an intricate baggage claim scam devised by two US-based suspects.
According to the US attorney’s office the two men, Pernell Anthony Jones Jr. (31), and Donmonick Martin (29), have been charged with conspiracy and mail fraud. The duo are accused of filing malicious lost-baggage claims to airlines on about 180 flights flying to and out of New Orleans’s Louis Armstrong International Airport.
The elaborate scheme has cost US carriers about $550,000 and can be traced back to 2015.
According to a report from the New Orleans Advocate, Jones would purchase tickets and fly with commercial airlines under false aliases without any checked-in luggage. However, after landing at his destination, Jones would proceed to file a lost-luggage claim and request compensation valued at over $3,500 a time.
Following a period of a month, after unsuccessfully locating the fictitious luggage, airlines would then send compensation in the form of checks addressed to Martin’s residential address.
According to prosecutors Jones and Martin face a combined 25 years in prison if convicted.