Ex-United Employee Headed to Prison for Stealing $559,346 in Meal Vouchers

A United employee was fired two years ago but kept his uniform and airline ID. He spent over a year logging into United terminals inside airports around the country and printing meal vouchers. A lot of them.

He created tens of thousands of meal vouchers, intended for distressed passengers, worth $20 – $30 each. He wasn’t really hungry, and he didn’t order up a ton of food using OTG iPads. Instead he turned them into cash, redeeming the vouchers “through a food truck company that he owned” for a total of $559,345.67.

The scam involved printed vouchers at airports in Boston, Miami, Peoria, Milwaukee, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He was caught when airport security at the Peoria airport noticed “an unauthorized man using one of the computer terminals at the United Airlines ticket counter.” He confronted he claimed to work for United in IT. Lesson: at small stations everyone knows everyone.

No one is standing by these United computer terminals

The 37 year old entered a guilty plea and will serve 33 months for bank fraud and has to pay United back the money that he stole.

(HT: Running With Miles)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Not a bad scam. Good takeaway, Gary. If he had stuck to ORD and IAH, he’d still be getting away with it.

  2. I’m calling BS on this story until I see more proof. When airline employees are terminated, on the list of things the airlines collect and do are 1) collect all ID cards (company and airport issued) and 2) terminate all computer access of said ex-employee. This supposedly went on for 2 YEARS?? Even at the $30 amount, he would have had to print 18,644 vouchers. That would equate to 25 vouchers PER DAY, EVERY DAY, for 2 years straight. United vouchers have a 24 hour validity (read the fine print on them). He would have had to run 25 (or more) vouchers thru his food truck business every day. Vouchers are also driven off a customer’s reservation for accounting purposes. He would have had to have access to a delayed or cancelled flight in the airline computer system, then print vouchers for 25 or more people from that flight, then run them ALL thru his food truck within 24 hours… Sorry, just not believing the story as it stands without more info.

  3. An agent did the same thing in YVR but nothing was ever done they let him walk away free and clear.

  4. I also question how he had sign in access to computer after he left company. Doesn’t sound right

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