May 2, 2007 / 1:53 PM / 10 years ago

JetBlue employees arrested for credit card fraud

<p>A JetBlue employee assists a customer at the check-in counter at JFK International Airport in New York, in this February 19, 2007 file photo. Four JetBlue employees and a New York City corrections officer were arrested on Tuesday on charges of splurging with credit cards forgotten by passengers rushing to catch their flights, prosecutors said.Keith Bedford</p>

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Four JetBlue employees and a New York City corrections officer were arrested on Tuesday on charges of splurging with credit cards forgotten by passengers rushing to catch their flights, prosecutors said.

The arrests come as the low-cost airline struggles to rebuild customer confidence after a February storm triggered the cancellation of some 1,200 JetBlue flights and left passengers stranded or fuming on grounded planes for hours.

A probe by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau found that the five, who included three customer service agents and a flight attendant, went on shopping sprees using credit and debit cards that belonged to JetBlue customers.

The cards, one of which the employees gave to the corrections officer, were used to make purchases at liquor stores, restaurants and shops, including Bloomingdale's and Victoria's Secret.

JetBlue spokesman Bryan Baldwin said the company is cooperating fully with the investigation and that the four employees have been suspended.

Investigators were tipped off to the scheme on June 7, 2006, after a law student who was flying from New York to Boston forgot his credit card at the JetBlue terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport. The card was later used to rack up charges of more than $500.

"Airports can often be stressful places," Morgenthau said. "These defendants took advantage of that stress when customers, focused on their travel plans, inadvertently left their credit cards with JetBlue employees, ironically working as 'customer service' agents. Instead of providing assistance, these agents ripped off passengers."

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