JetBlue Gate Agent Pleads Guilty To Fraudulently Changing Flight Bookings

A Chelsea, Massachusetts resident pleaded guilty to abusing her position as a JetBlue airline gate agent at Logan International Airport (BOS). The defendant appeared in federal court on Friday, October 18th, 2019.

Embraer Emb190-100IGW ‘N198JB’ JetBlue
A JetBlue gate agent scammed the reservation system, Photo: Alan Wilson via Flickr

Tiffany Jenkins pleaded guilty to converting low-cost JetBlue domestic tickets into more expensive international flights. The former employee changed the tickets for family members and friends according to US Attorney Andrew Lelling.

When the 31-year-old was arrested nearly a year ago in November 2018, the former JetBlue employee plead guilty to three counts of wire fraud, according to a statement released by Lelling.

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Jenkins used a special code to change tickets

The US Attorney’s office did not release the name of the company Jenkins worked for because it can’t identify victims of wrongdoings. However, the area’s biggest newspaper, the Boston Globe, confirmed that Jenkins worked for JetBlue.

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While performing her duties as a gate agent, the then 30-year-old had access to a special company code in JetBlue’s reservation system.

JetBlue Airbus tailfins
The INVOL code was used to issue more expensive tickets. Photo: JetBlue

The JetBlue code that Jenkins accessed is intended to be used by airline representatives to change flights for passengers who missed their flights or customers who have experienced a death in the family.

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Called an “involuntary exchange (INVOL)” Jenkins was able to convert less expensive domestic United States travel into much more expensive international flights.

Most of the new tickets were for flights to the Caribbean

According to the charges brought against her, the US Attorney’s office claims that Jenkins’ tampering spans over the course of 15 months. Starting in July of 2016, she used the special code to issue around 505 tickets for 100 different people.

JetBlue Airbus A320
Jenkins altered around 505 tickets over 15 months. Photo: JetBlue

A statement issued by the U.S. Attorney’s office and carried by MassLive claims that Jenkins had people purchase the lowest possible JetBlue fare and then altered the tickets for expensive flights.

“Many of those exchanges occurred after the passenger was first booked on domestic flights at one of the airline company’s lowest available fares – often, round-trip flights between Las Vegas, Nevada, and Long Beach, California,” The U.S. Attorney’s Office stated in a press release.

“A short time later, Jenkins exchanged those tickets for a completely different city pair, generally involving much more expensive international locations, for friends, family, and acquaintances.”

Among the international destinations, Jenkins issued tickets for were the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

Following her initial arrest, Jenkins was released on $10,000 bail but is now scheduled for sentencing on January 21st, 2020. Here, she could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of anything up to $250,000.

Jenkins defrauded JetBlue of $785,000

In Jenkins’s case, while working with JetBlue she stumbled upon the idea of using the “involuntary exchange (INVOL)” code to provide her family and friends with cheap flights.

JetBlue Airbus A320
Jenkins made money from the fake tickets. Photo: JetBlue

Perhaps, in the beginning, she may have done it a couple of times as a favor. However, once she realized that she could do it and that nobody found out she saw it as a business venture.

According to the Boston Globe Jenkins defrauded JetBlue out of $785,000 yet she claims she did not make money out of the scam and that she only wanted her family and friends to see the world.

However, her digital money trail shows a different story. Her mobile payment Cash App shows that Jenkins received more money than the cost of the initial domestic flight.

To me, it seems obvious that if what the U.S. Attorney’s Office is saying is true Jenkins was deliberately defrauding the airlines for personal gain. What do you think? Please let us know in the comments.

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Chuck

Most company fraud starts with an employee making an honest mistake and management fails to detects the error. Since the employee is already in a compromised situation (needing money is most common) the employee rationalizes that no one is hurt if the practice continues. Finally, the employee is in too deep to turn back. The detection is usually from one of the benefactors bragging too loudly about the corrupt benefit, a fellow employee who calls the company hotline, or someone in the back office notes a large variance. These situations leave egg on the face of all directly or indirectly… Read more »

Jet blue

Great point Chuck !

William

Those employees I suspect are often the most helpful and competant to passengers experiencing difficulties.

Jet blue

If you lead a life of honesty and play fair, then you will live a longer and stress free life. Did this young lady think she wasn’t going to get caught ?

Lloyd Baroody

What amazes me is the number of people who went along with this. They must have known they were doing something wrong and illegal.