Feds charge 2 in $500K lost luggage scam

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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WKBN) – Two suspects from Louisiana are accused of making over $500,000 in false lost luggage claims to U.S. airlines.

Pernell Anthony Jones, Jr., 31, of Kenner, Lousiana, and Donmonick Martin, 29, of Chalmette, Louisiana, were charged for their roles in a conspiracy to defraud the airlines.

According to court documents, beginning 2015, Jones and his co-conspirators submitted over 180 claims to commercial airlines, including American, Alaska, Southwest, United and JetBlue, requesting over $550,000 in reimbursement for luggage that Jones falsely alleged had been lost.  

 In total, the airlines paid over $300,000 in fraudulent claims. The Bill of Information alleges that Jones would take flights with commercial airlines under false or fictitious identities using fraudulent identification cards.  When he arrived at the destination airport, he would falsely claim that his baggage had been lost and would request reimbursement to compensate him for his lost luggage. 

Through this scheme, Jones and others caused airlines to mail reimbursement checks through the United States Postal Service. 

Martin was charged for his role in this scam, which included going into Louis Armstrong International Airport in January 2020 under a fictitious identity and falsely telling American Airlines that his bag had been lost on a flight.  

Martin’s Bill of Information also alleges that, on four occasions, he agreed to accept reimbursement funds from airlines for false claims for lost baggage.

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