BOSTON – A Marlboro man pleaded guilty today to charges stemming from his scheme to defraud various airlines.
Pedro Igor Duarte, 28 pleaded guilty to three counts of mail fraud.
Beginning October 2007 and continuing through April 2009, Duarte purchased airline tickets and flew on various airlines, including Continental Airlines, American Airlines, and Air Tran Airways (now Southwest Airlines), for the purpose of submitting, and obtaining payment on, lost baggage claims, when in fact he had not lost any baggage on those flights.
Duarte would purchase an airline ticket and prior to the flight would check his baggage with the airline. Upon arrival at his destination airport, Duarte would pick up his checked baggage, but then would submit a lost baggage claim form to the airline, falsely stating that the airline had lost his baggage. Duarte would alter slightly the spelling of his name on the baggage claim form so that the airline would not know that the same person was filing numerous lost baggage claims within a short time period. Duarte would also provide a Massachusetts address or, alternatively, provide an address outside of Massachusetts, but would later contact the airline and change his address to a Massachusetts location. In support of his lost baggage claim, Duarte would provide the airline with purchase receipts purporting to document the value of his lost baggage. Upon receipt of the necessary information from Duarte, the airline would mail him a check to compensate for the value of his purportedly lost baggage.
Duarte faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. As part of the plea agreement, Duarte will repay the airlines $28,210 in restitution. Sentencing is scheduled for December 6, 2013.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Anthony DiPaolo, Chief of the Investigations of the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maxim Grinberg of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.