Two men are facing federal charges for allegedly bilking commercial airlines out of $300,000 by filing false lost luggage claims. Prosecutors said that Pernell Anthony Jones Jr. was the ringleader of the scheme, while his friend, Donmonick Martin, helped him commit the alleged fraud.
Jones is accused of filing 180 claims over a five-year period to numerous airlines, including American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines. Prosecutors claim that Jones would book flights under a fake name and then file false reports that his luggage was missing. On the reports, he listed multiple high-value items to ensure that he would get the maximum of $3,500 that airlines typically provide when a piece of luggage is lost.
Jones would use the addresses of his friends and associates to file the false claims. On at least three occasions, Martin allowed Jones to use his home address and Paypal account.
Jones asked for a total of $550,000 in reimbursements and received $300,000 from the airlines.
Jones was charged with conspiracy and mail fraud, while Martin was only charged with conspiracy. If convicted, Jones faces up to 20 years behind bars. Martin is facing up to five years in jail if he is convicted.