One man collected at least US$300,000 (NZ$436,500) from various airlines over the course of five years by repeatedly claiming they lost his luggage, US federal prosecutors said.

Now he’s facing prison time.

Pernell Anthony Jones Jr. pleaded guilty to fraud charges in the Eastern District of Louisiana on November 23, court documents show. The US Attorney’s Office said Jones faces up to 20 years in prison on each count and US$250,000 in fines when he’s sentenced on February 24.

A defence attorney representing the 31-year-old did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for comment.

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Jones is from Kenner, Louisiana, home to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

Prosecutors said the scam lasted from 2015 to 2020. During that time, Jones is accused of using fake IDs to book flights and file claims for reimbursement, often instructing airlines to send cheques to his friends’ addresses instead of his own. According to the government, Jones filed at least 180 fraudulent claims for lost baggage – seeking more than US$550,000 in reimbursement cheques.

At least five airlines were targeted: American, Alaska, Southwest, United and JetBlue.

A representative with American told McClatchy News in a statement on Wednesday, November 24,…

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