Trio Indicted for Airline Ticket Fraud
Las Vegas, Nev. - Three Las Vegas residents who allegedly cheated travel agencies and passenger air carriers of money by distributing fraudulent airline tickets to unwitting air travelers, have been indicted by a federal grand jury, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada. SUSAN CARTER, age 53, her husband, GREG CARTER, age 48, and her daughter, JAIME ABARGHOIE, age 25, all of Las Vegas, are charged with one count of Conspiracy, 15 counts of Fraud by Wire, and four counts of Money Laundering, all felonies. If convicted, they are facing up to five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on the Conspiracy count, up to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000 on the Fraud by Wire counts, and up to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $500,000 on the Money Laundering counts.
The Indictment alleges that the defendants schemed to defraud travel agencies and major commercial air carriers of money and property by entering false and fraudulent upgrade codes into airline reservation systems in order to obtain an upgraded ticket for First or Business Class at a fare at or near Coach. The defendants then sold the upgraded tickets to unsuspecting customers for a price far in excess of the fare for which they obtained the ticket from the major air carriers. The scheme enabled the defendants to collect the price difference between the reduced fare resulting from the entry of a false upgrade code and the reduced fare that the defendants charged their customers.
Some of the acts alleged in the Indictment include:
• From approximately November 2000 to March 2001, the defendants caused over 100 fraudulent airline tickets to be sold and printed through Boulder City Travel, causing major air carriers and the owner of Boulder City Travel to sustain a loss in excess of $800,000.
• From approximately May 2001 to July 2001, the defendants sold and issued numerous fraudulent airline tickets through Aristocrat Travel, causing major air carriers and the owner of Aristocrat Travel to sustain a loss in excess of $140,000.
• From approximately March 2002 to August 2003, defendants ABARGHOIE and SUSAN CARTER established and maintained a business named Skye-River Travel, to effect their fraud. They deposited proceeds of the sales of fraudulent tickets into Skye-River Travel's bank accounts; used the company to book reservations in an airline reservation system using false and fraudulent upgrade codes; and used it to obtain customers for fraudulent tickets.
• From approximately April 2002 to August 2002, the defendants caused over 100 fraudulent airline tickets to be sold and printed through One Stop Travel, causing major carriers and One Stop Travel to incur a loss in excess of $700,000.
• From approximately December 2002 to January 2003, the defendants sold and issued numerous fraudulent airline tickets through Above and Beyond Travel, causing major carriers and Above and Beyond Travel to incur a loss in excess of $120,000.
The Indictment also contains criminal forfeiture allegations, which upon conviction of the other charges in the Indictment, would require the defendants to forfeit significant personal and real property, including approximately $96,000 in cash; real property at 3009 Beach View Court and 3317 Chesterbrook Court in Las Vegas; a 1996 Mercedes Benz sedan; a 1994 Rolls Royce sedan; and a 2001 Ford Mustang.
A Summons was issued for all three defendants to appear in court on February 18, 2004, for an Initial Appearance and Arraignment before United States Magistrate Judge Robert J. Johnston.
This case is being investigated by Special Agents with the United States Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven Myhre.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.