Travel agent stole 3.7million air miles and used them to buy family flights


Travel agent stole 3.7million air miles and used them to buy family flights

A former US travel agent has been charged with stealing almost 3.7million airmiles from her clients, and using them to buy plane tickets for herself and her family.

The Daily Mail reports that Karen Yeakel was fired from her job at Stellar Travel in Bellevue, Washington, in 2011 as a result of discrepancies in the frequent flier account of one of her best clients.

She has since been charged with using clients' airmiles to buy more than 135 flights, worth more than £67,000. She has also been charged with using the credit cards of some clients to buy £111,000 worth of plane tickets, which she then offered at a discount to other customers.

Prosecutors wrote: "Yeakel frequently denied her clients access to their airline miles or misled clients into believing that the airlines had restricted the use of airline miles when, in fact, no airline miles were available as defendant Yeakel had misappropriated them for her own benefit."

Stellar Travel company partner, Susan Bluhm, did not identify Yeakel's clients, and they were not named in the court papers. However they were described as "high net worth individuals".

She added:"A handful of her top clients were affected, and those clients are still our clients. They realised that this was the action of a rogue employee. This was almost two years ago, and we dealt with it."

ABC News reports that the charge was filed in a federal court document called an 'information', which usually means that a plea deal is in the works.

Ms Yeakel began working at Stellar in 2003. Court papers said that the scheme to provide airline tickets purchased by some clients to other clients began in early 2005. The scheme to convert frequent flier miles for her own use began in 2008.

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