Georgia man pleads guilty in airline-booking scam

AP News
Posted: Jan 21, 2015 9:02 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Georgia man who posed as an airline employee to make cut-rate reservations, then resold the tickets for thousands of dollars, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Gilbert Myers Jr., 38, of Atlanta, entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. He faces up to 20 years in prison at his sentencing hearing scheduled for April 30.

In a plea agreement, Myers acknowledged he fraudulently booked hundreds of flights on United Airlines, JetBlue Airways and other carriers.

Prosecutors say Myers orchestrated a scam that allowed his customers to use those tickets to board aircraft while pretending to be employees of other airlines. He typically charged $2,000 for one year of unlimited flights.

Myers was arrested last year at a hotel in Beverly Hills after agreeing to meet a ticket buyer who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent.

Airlines routinely provide free travel for their own employees and heavily discounted fares to those of other airlines if there are empty seats.

Prosecutors said Myers would call an airline posing as an employee from another airline and obtain a discounted ticket. It would be booked in the name of the intended traveler, with a bogus employee identification number. Authorities said Myers coached his customers on how to dress and what to say if someone asked questions.