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Jan. 13, 2010

FORMER CONTINENTAL AIRLINES EMPLOYEE SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR DEFRAUDING EMPLOYER

(HOUSTON) - Rebecca Anne Dewvall, formerly with Continental Airlines’ corporate security team, was sentenced today to a year in federal prison for executing a scheme to defraud Continental Airlines through its Electronic Travel Certificate (ETC) program, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. Dewvall, 42, of Channelview, Texas, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in September 2009. United States District Judge David Hittner, who handed down the 12- month prison term, also ordered Dewvall to pay $109,289 in restitution to Continental Airlines.  

Continental provides its customers with ETCs under a variety of circumstances, including as compensation for disservice incurred by passengers on prior travel arrangements, in exchange for passengers’ cancellation of their non-refundable travel or as promotional measures for the airline. Between March 2007 and May 2009, Dewvall used her knowledge and skill as a corporate security employee to defraud Continental by accessing Continental’s computer system and finding high value ETCs that were nearing expiration. She would make fictitious fully-refundable travel reservations that would consume the bulk of the value of the ETCs. Thereafter, Dewvall would make changes in the reservation at a minimal cost in order to introduce her credit or debit card into the transaction and ultimately cancel the reservation causing Continental to refund the full value of the travel to her account. In defrauding Continental of more than $100,000, Dewvall purloined nearly 150 ETCs during the two-year-period of her scheme.

Dewvall has been permitted to remain on bond pending an order to surrender to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future.  

The investigation leading to the criminal charges was conducted by the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Jason Varnado prosecuted the case.

 

 

 

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