MIAMI – (CBS4) - More than a dozen airline employees facing fraud and theft charges appeared before a bond court judge Thursday after being accused of pocketing baggage fees while they worked as skycaps at Miami International Airport.
Those arrested are Luis Zapata, 24; Josue Rojas, 31; Eric Johnson, 56; Victor Casilla, 21; Maxo Felix, 40; Jonathan Schettini, 26; Jorge Uscamayta, 62; Yves Deri, 28; Arnaldo Sanchez, 29; Joel Rodriguez, 28; Emil Raymond De Leon, 34; Renant LaLeau, 39; Heriberto Maldonado, 48; Jorge Alberto Martinez, 34; and Terry Bowens, 52.
Circuit Judge Nushin Sayfie ordered 13 of them to be released without posting bond, but they must meet certain conditions including surrendering their airport IDs, uniforms and they must stay away from Miami International Airport.
All of the suspects worked as skycaps for Eulen American Corporation, a company subcontraced by American Airlines. They are accused of charging passengers for luggage and overweight fees, waiving the fees in the airline’s computer system and pocketing the cash.
All nine of the suspects have been charged with Organized Scheme to Defraud and Grand Theft. The investigation is ongoing and authorities expect several more arrests.
American Airlines released this statement Wednesday afternoon:
“This investigation was initiated by American Airlines and we were actively involved throughout, working closely with the Miami-Dade Police Department, which did an excellent job. Although the skycaps arrested are not American Airlines employees, they were contracted to provide service to our passengers on our behalf. We take these matters quite seriously and have no patience for this type of behavior. Any other information should come from the Miami-Dade Police Department since this is now a police matter.”