Business travelers are suffering now, without being able to pad their incomes with fraudulent expense reports. The travel industry as a whole is suffering more. Travel agents aren’t selling very much travel.
- Zimbabwe says that their Ministry of Defense paid the agency US$2.7 million to cover airline tickets for 79 army officers
- Those tickets were never issued, and the officers never knew about them
- Instead the agency’s Director of Finance signed off on the invoice, and received a kickback
Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767, by Dmitriy Pichugin via Wikimedia Commons
It took a year for charges to be filed, perhaps the most amazing thing is that the travel agent running the scam stayed in country rather than fleeing with the loot.
About twenty years ago a professional acquaintance suggested that his company eliminate everything except sales and finance. They could still have clients, and bill their clients, they just wouldn’t do anything else. He called it ‘cutting out the middle man.’ Here a travel agency sold travel and billed for travel. It’s the actual travel part they cut out.
Avatar Airlines, by the way, applied for a CARES Act airline payroll grant even though in their own words they “have no flights, no overhead, administrative expense, or fixed costs at the present time.” They also have no planes or operating certificate. Only this time their founder wasn’t prosecuted.