Ukrainian from Chicago will pay Delta AirLines $ 1 million for illegal accumulation of miles
A travel agency partner in Chicago (Illinois) pleaded guilty to illegal use of customer data to accumulate airline bonus miles. This is reported on the website US Department of Justice.
Gennadiy Podolskiy, who has dual citizenship of Ukraine and the United States and a managing partner of Vega International Travel Services, Inc., pleaded guilty to illegal actions, in particular, misuse of the bonus miles accumulation system.
“Companies or individuals who use travel agencies trust them,” said Attorney Byung Pak. - Podolsky did not justify this trust. He used passwords for SkyBonus Delta Airlines accounts without proper authorization and fraudulently accumulated Delta SkyBonus points to purchase tickets. ”
“When someone cheats on miles, large corporations like Delta AirLines lose a significant chunk of their profits,” said Chris Hacker, FBI Special Agent in Atlanta. "This case is an example of how the FBI protects companies and arrests fraudsters."
Vega International Travel Services, Inc. (Vega Travel) is a small full-service travel agency located in Chicago, Illinois. Vega Travel's services included airline reservations for clients, many of whom were living abroad. Podolsky was the managing partner of Vega Travel and a leading travel agent.
Delta Airlines is a major American airline that has a frequent flyer bonus program - SkyMiles; and a similar program for enterprises - SkyBonus. They allow individuals and businesses to earn points for free travel and other perks.
Registered companies can earn SkyBonus points while traveling passengers earn SkyMiles points. Registered companies receive a unique user ID and password and can use the accumulated Sky Bonus points to obtain flight awards certificates, upgrades and other benefits. You can request a certificate for these services through the SkyBonus website, Delta sends Delta eCerts certificates by email. In order to exchange eCert for a free trip, the recipient enters the eCert number when booking the ticket.
Podolsky created a fake account on the site in the name of RGI International in order to fraudulently accumulate SkyBonus points. He also passed the password from the fake SkyBonus account in the name of RGI International to a Vega International Travel Service, Inc. employee to book flights for Vega customers in the name of the account, thereby increasing the bonus miles it earns.
Thus, in the name of RGI International, bonuses for the flights of Vega customers were accumulated, although these people were not employees of any organization called RGI International. That is, points were accumulated fraudulently.
The sentencing of 44-year-old Gennady Podolsky is scheduled for January 27, 2021. As part of the plea agreement, Podolsky agreed to pay $ 1 million in restitution to Delta AirLines pending sentencing, and also agreed not to do any business with Delta AirLines or any company associated with Delta AirLines at any time in the future.
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