The former employee admitted to using her position as a JetBlue gate agent to convert low-cost flights into more expensive ones for more than 100 people

By Hannah Chubb
October 22, 2019 05:47 PM
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A former JetBlue employee plead guilty on Friday to scamming the airline out of hundreds of thousands of dollars — a crime for which she may face 20 years behind bars.

Tiffany Jenkins, 31, admitted to using her position as a JetBlue gate agent to convert low-cost flights into more expensive ones for more than 100 of her friends, family members and acquaintances.

She was able to do so through access to the airline’s online reservation database, using a special code to change flights for no additional cost. This change is called an “involuntary exchange” or “INVOL,” and is typically only used by the airline when a customer misses their flight or must switch their plans due to a death in the family.

Over a 15-month period, Jenkins performed an involuntary exchange on approximately 505 flights — many of which began as cheap, domestic tickets between Las Vegas and Long Beach, California, which can start at just $45, Travel and Leisure reports — changing them to far more expensive tickets, often for international travel, for free.

The Boston Globe reports that this fraud cost the airline an estimated $785,000.

A release from the District of Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office confirms that Jenkins pled guilty to three counts of wire fraud on Friday. She was arrested and charged for the crime back in November 2018. Her sentencing will begin in January 2020.

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Wire fraud can come with a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, as well as “three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross loss or gain, whichever is greater,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

JetBlue could not be reached for comment.