Kenner Man Sentenced for Airline Baggage Scam Involving Over $550,000 in False Claims
NEW ORLEANS, LA – U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that PERNELL ANTHONY JONES, JR., age 32, of Kenner, Louisiana, was sentenced today for Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349 and Mail Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341 and one count of Mail Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections1341 and 2.
According to court documents, beginning in or around 2015, JONES took flights with commercial airlines under false or fictitious identities using fraudulent identification cards. When he arrived at the destination airport, JONES falsely claimed that his baggage was lost and requested reimbursement to compensate him for his lost luggage. Through this scheme, JONES and his co-conspirators submitted over 180 false claims to commercial airlines, including American, Alaska, Southwest, United, and JetBlue, requesting over $550,000 in reimbursement. In total, the airlines paid over $300,000 in fraudulent claims.
JONES’s plea documents state that, on April 7, 2018, JONES was arrested at Dallas Love Airport while attempting to go through screening by the Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) with 36 fraudulent driver’s licenses and 47 credit cards under fictitious names. On March 5, 2020, JONES was arrested again while attempting to pick up a reimbursement check for a fraudulent baggage claim at Louis Armstrong International Airport in Kenner, Louisiana. Law enforcement searched JONES’s residence on March 5, 2020 and found 34 fraudulent driver’s licenses; 21 fake work identification cards; and a number of fraudulent airline employee badges containing JONES’s photograph.
U. S. District Court Judge Susie Morgan sentenced JONES to serve 46 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. JONES was also ordered to pay restitution to the victim airlines in the amount of $327,451.61. Judge Morgan also imposed a mandatory special assessment fee of $100 per count for a total of $200.
"This sentencing demonstrates the steadfast work of the FBI and our partners in bringing to justice individuals like Mr. Pernell Anthony Jones, Jr., who engaged in fraudulent criminal activity and compromised national security for his own financial gain," said FBI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Douglas A. Williams, Jr. "We would like to thank our state and federal partners including the United States Attorney’s Office, Department of Homeland Security, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, and the City of Dallas Police Department for their strong partnerships in disrupting this criminal enterprise.
U.S. Attorney Evans would like to acknowledge the investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, and the City of Dallas Police Department. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Carboni.