09:20 GMT +327 April 2018
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    Ex-US Airline Chiefs Charged With Multimillion Theft of Passengers' Money

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A US court has convicted the former CEO and a former vice president of a bankrupt charter airline of stealing millions from passenger escrow accounts, the Department of Justice announced in a press release.

    "Judy Tull, 73, and Kay Ellison, 58, both of Edenton, North Carolina, were each convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting financial institutions and to commit bank fraud, four substantive counts of wire fraud affecting financial institutions and three substantive counts of bank fraud following a seven-day trial," the release said on Thursday.

    Prosecutors presented evidence that from October 2007 through March 2012, Tull and Ellison engaged in a scheme to steal passengers’ money for future travel from escrow account by artificially inflating the amounts and falsifying letters telling banks to release the money, the release explained.

    "Their brazen scheme created a multi-million dollar shortfall that left passengers stranded at airports, and banks and credit card companies scrambling to pick up the pieces," the release said.

    Two financial institutions sustained losses of nearly $30 million for having to refund passengers' money that should have been held in escrow, but was actually stolen by the defendants as part of an effort to save their failing company, the release noted.

    The former executives ran Myrtle Beach Direct Air and Tours (Direct Air), which was headquartered in the Atlantic Ocean resort town of Myrtle Beach in the state of South Carolina.

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    Tags:
    airline, charges, trial, fraud, escrow accounts, deposit, tickets, U.S. Department of Justice, United States
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