Orlando Area Men Convicted Of Wire Fraud Conspiracy Involving The Travel Industry
Orlando, FL – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that a federal jury has found Albert Jeffrey Sanchez (50, Orlando) and Harold Ferdinand (36, Longwood) guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Each faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. Sanchez and Ferdinand were indicted on February 19, 2014. The verdict was returned yesterday. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 17, 2014.
According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, during the course of the conspiracy, Sanchez owned and operated AVYT Tours, an Orlando-area travel agency. Ferdinand worked as a rental agent at Budget Rent-A-Car in Orlando. Between January 2008 and March 2009, Ferdinand used his position with Budget to modify almost 1,000 customer reservations and agreements from Avis Budget branches around the country. Ferdinand modified customer reservations to make it appear as though Sanchez’s travel agency AVYT Tours had booked the reservations, when he knew that the customers had booked the reservations themselves, usually over the Internet.
For reservations booked by AVYT Tours, Avis Budget wired Sanchez’s travel agency a commission. The commissions for the customer reservations that Ferdinand and co-conspirator and fellow Avis Budget employee Lillian Sanchez had fraudulently modified totaled nearly $140,000. Sanchez then wrote Ferdinand approximately $17,000 in checks for his participation in the scheme.
Lillian Sanchez (50, Debary) pleaded guilty to her role in the scheme on May 20, 2014. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 20, 2014.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph M. Schuster.