Dozens of People Charged in Travel Scam

Dozens of people are charged in a travel scam that stretched across the county.

Authorities say part of the operation was based out of Atlanta.

Any advertising was minimal. The majority of times the scheme was communicated via word of mouth.

US Attorney Beth Phillips today announced charges against 38 people in an identity theft scam that crossed the nation, a scam they first
discovered in the Kansas City area. Four and a half years ago, Shawnee police arrested these two women - Sabrina Bowers and Diedre Hall - and charged them with theft.

Federal investigators say they worked at a hotel and stole the personal information and credit card numbers from guests, then conspired with a woman and her son in Atlanta to book flights for them and others.

On or near the requested date, the black market travel agent would purchase an airline ticket using credit card information stolen
from the identity theft victim.

Federal prosecutors say the black market travel agent booked the
flight online for the buyer, who received a full price ticket for half price. Investigators say the suspects would keep using the stolen credit card number again and again until the victim cancelled it.

After uncovering this Kansas City-Atlanta conspiracy, investigators discovered another black market travel ring in Atlanta and five other cities.

Phillips says in some schemes, the travel agents bought personal information from people in Bangladesh and Vietnam. And she says the
number of victims reaches into the thousands.

The indictments today represent the conclusion or at least one important step in an investigation of identity theft and credit card
fraud across the country.


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