The former Southwest Airlines employee DaJuan Martin from Bolingbrook, Illinois, was recently charged for his participation in a voucher-selling scheme. Martin was indicted and charged with twelve counts of fraud after allegedly making and selling travel vouchers that became worth nearly $1.9 million.
The unique travel voucher scheme
Martin, who worked at Chicago's Midway International Airport (MDW), allegedly filled out a number of travel vouchers with fake names. Federal prosecutors say that Martin would then sell these vouchers to others at less than face value. Some of the vouchers that were sold went to co-defendant Ned Brooks.
The former Southwest employee worked for the company from November 2018 to June 2022. Martin was employed as a customer-service agent. This gave him the access and the authority to issue vouchers for customers that experienced delays, cancelations, or any other customer service-related problems. Those involved in the scheme would then text message Martin when they wanted vouchers, and he would then sell them the vouchers at a discounted rate.
The indictment, which was released on Monday, June 5, officially charged Martin with twelve counts of wire fraud. Brooks, the co-defendant, was charged with four counts of wire fraud. Each count of wire fraud can be punishable by up to 20 years in prison. In addition to the files charged, federal prosecutors are also looking for the defendants to forfeit money and possessions gained from the travel voucher scheme. The forfeiture totals almost $1.9 million from Martin and $732,000 from Brooks, including $27,000 in cash and a 2021 Land Rover.
Another unfortunate incident brings Southwest into the news
The airline has been involved in a string of bad publicity events over the last few months. Late last week, the Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Airlines, Bob Jordan, said that he believes the pilot shortage that currently plagues the airline will last approximately three years. Because of Southwest's current pilot shortage, the airline has over 40 aircraft grounded. This equates to around 200 flights a day that are paused.
Additionally, late last month, an image went viral that depicted a Southwest Airlines pilot crawling through the flight deck window of his aircraft. The aircraft, which was located at San Diego International Airport (SAN), had somehow had the flight deck door locked from the inside. The pilots were then forced to enter through the windows with the help of the flight deck.
The airline was also involved in a more serious incident in late May as well. A Southwest Airlines aircraft was involved in a near-miss incident at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Two separate aircraft were forced to abort their landings at SFO after a Southwest 737 was taxiing across the runway on which the two other aircraft were set to land.
The Southwest aircraft was granted access to cross runway 28L and line up at runway 28R. However, at the same time, a United Airlines Boeing 737 MAX was approaching runway 28L. The United aircraft had lowered to an altitude of 225 feet before aborting, climbing to 800 feet, and performing a go-around.
With the Southwest Airlines flight lined up at 28R, an Alaska Airlines flight was also set to approach the same runway. The Alaska Airlines Airbus A321neo was forced to abort its landing at an altitude of 550 feet and perform a go-around.
This article originally appeared on Simple Flying