A Southwest Airlines employee has been indicted by a Chicago grand jury of 12 counts of wire fraud after the customer service rep allegedly issued $1.87 million worth of travel vouchers to fake passengers.
Dajuan Martin, 36, from Bolingbrook, Illinois, had been working for Southwest since November 2018 until she was accused in June 2022 of conspiring with Ned Brooks, 46, of swindling Southwest Airlines by taking advantage of a generous customer service program.
Prosecutors allege that Martin abused a program that allowed customer service agents to issue travel vouchers called Southwest Luv Vouchers, or SLVs, as they were commonly known, to passengers who had suffered an “unfavourable travel experience”.
Martin would receive messages from Brooks and other unnamed suspects requesting SLVs ranging from $200 to $500. In total, prosecutors believe Martin issued $1.87 million worth of fraudulent travel vouchers.
Each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison. Arraignments in federal court are yet to be scheduled.
Last September, three Spirit Air employees at Philadephia International Airport were charged with defrauding the ultra-low-cost carrier out of more than $283,000 by abusing a special ‘Penny Fare’ scheme.
The fraud was made possible because Spirit gave airport customer service agents access to make broad changes to flight tickets.
The accused fraudsters allegedly recruited passengers who booked cheap ‘penny fare’ tickets at the airport for flights they didn’t want to take and had the ticket amended for a more expensive flight that they wanted in the first place.
In normal circumstances, changing the ticket with a different departure airport or flight date would result in a big fare difference, but the employees were able to waive this fee and charged the passengers a commission for exploiting the illegal loophole.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.