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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Stolen miles

From the Tampa Tribune-

TAMPA - For four years, Luis Montejo used the long-forgotten rewards of air travelers to earn extra money, Tampa police said.

Now he faces criminal charges that have spurred Delta Air Lines to review its safeguards surrounding perks for travelers.

Montejo, a former Delta ticket agent, used his position to swipe more than 4 million SkyMiles - rewards earned for travel - from unsuspecting customers over four years, Tampa police Sgt. Paul Mumford said.

He then used the rewards to purchase airline tickets for other customers and pocketed the profit, Mumford said.

The sergeant did not know how much money Montejo garnered in the scheme but said he had sold 161 airline tickets over four years worth a total of $228,000.

'He got away with a lot of money for a long time,' Mumford said. 'We were able to track him through his greed.'

Jail records show Montejo, 50, of Tampa is charged with felony grand theft of $100,000 or more and felony organized fraud exceeding $50,000. Each charge is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Montejo was released from Orient Road Jail on Wednesday after posting $30,000 bail shortly after his arrest.


Mumford said the scheme began in 2004 after a Delta merger with Pan American Airways. Montejo transferred airline rewards from dormant Pan American Airways accounts to dormant Delta SkyMiles accounts with similar names, Mumford said. 'There were no customers wondering what happened to their SkyMiles. These were dormant accounts,' he said.

Montejo then cashed in those SkyMiles to obtain tickets for other travelers, which he sold at a reduced rate and kept the proceeds, Mumford said.

The scheme went unnoticed until the airline discovered one woman's ticket bore a different name than the SkyMiles account on which it was redeemed, Mumford said. The woman, like other passengers, had been unaware of the deception, he said.

Anthony Black, a Delta spokesman in Atlanta, said Montejo's employment with Delta ended in March. He would not comment on the circumstances.

The airline is conducting its own investigation 'to ensure no active SkyMile accounts were impacted and to ensure the security of SkyMile accounts in the future,' Black said.

The dormant accounts affected had not been used in years, Black said. In general, whenever SkyMiles are removed through no fault of the customer, the airline rectifies their account, he said.
I could an unscrupulous airline employee emptying FF accounts. It just surprises me that this doesn't happen more often. I have or once did have a FF account with Delta, due to having an AMEX Sky Miles card. That account has long since been closed. Are my miles still around or were they stolen like other people's were?(Or possibly expired by now)

One interesting tidbit about the Tampa Tribune article-

Montejo and his wife, Patricia, own a house at 16518 Foothill Drive that is valued at $218,000, according to the Hillsborough County property appraiser.

The couple have filed for federal Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection three times, most recently in 2003. That case was discharged in 2005 after the couple followed a payment plan.

In their initial 2003 petition, the couple said they had $171,225 in assets and $146,890 in liabilities, including two mortgages on their house in Northdale in northern Hillsborough County, and credit-card debt. At the time, their combined net monthly income was $4,497 from Luis Montejo's job at Delta and his wife's job at Saks Fifth Avenue, court records state.
Is any of that relevant to Mr. Montejo's theft? Does the Tampa Tribune include this much detail on every accused criminal they report on?

Maybe the Tribune's detractors or critics(TFM included) need to remind this member of the MSM of their own dirty laundry. Like their pedophile like interest in a girl's autopsy photos. Who is the sick mind here, the Tampa Tribune or the criminal?

Linked to- Random Yak, The World According to Carl,

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