Man Gets 70 Months In Prison For Defrauding Travel Agencies And Airlines In Ticket Fraud Scheme
Las Vegas, Nev. – A man who participated in a scheme to defraud local travel agencies and airlines of over $1.4 million by unlawfully accessing the airline reservation system to obtain first class airline tickets at a discount, was sentenced today to 70 months in prison and ordered to pay over $500,000 in restitution, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
U.S. District Judge Lloyd D. George imposed the sentence against GREG CARTER, age 51, which included an enhancement for obstruction of justice because CARTER committed perjury at his trial and because the loss to the airlines was over $1.4 million. A federal jury found CARTER guilty on March 31, 2006, of conspiracy, wire fraud, access device fraud and money laundering charges. The Court declined to find that CARTER played a minimal role in the conspiracy or that his conduct was aberrant, as proposed by defense counsel.
GREG CARTER'S spouse, SUSAN CARTER, age 55, of Las Vegas pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud, and was sentenced on July 20, 2006, to 50 months in prison. Her daughter, JAIME ABARGHOIE, was also involved in the scheme and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She was sentenced today by Judge George to six months home confinement and one year of probation.
The evidence introduced at GREG CARTER'S trial demonstrated that from about November 2000 to August 2003, the defendants induced local travel agencies to permit them to use an automated reservation system, which the agencies used to make airline reservations and to obtain airline tickets. They did so by making false representations to the travel agencies, such as that they were interested in purchasing the agency or that they were outside sales agents who serviced frequent flier customers. At various times during the period of the scheme, the defendants established and maintained businesses, such as Skye-River and Carter Entertainment, in order to effect the conspiracy to defraud. The defendants then gained access to airline reservation systems and caused first or business class tickets to issue on major air carriers at prices that were much less than the published fare. The defendants sold the tickets to unwitting air travelers for a price far in excess of that by which they were obtained through the reservation system.
The local travel agencies affected were Boulder City Travel; One Stop Tours and Travel of Las Vegas; Aristocrat Travel; and Above and Beyond Travel. The victim airline carriers include American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Continental Airlines, and Swiss Air.
GREG CARTER was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release, and both he and SUSAN CARTER agreed to forfeit up to $1,760,000 in personal and real properties derived from the proceeds of their crimes. Those properties include approximately $115,000 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.
The case was investigated by Special Agents with the United States Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation, and prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven W. Myhre and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nancy J. Koppe and Daniel D. Hollingsworth.