United States Attorney
Southern District of New York
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
JULY 14, 2010 ELLEN DAVIS, JERIKA RICHARDSON,
PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, announced that VICTORIA SCARDIGNO,
a former sales agent for Continental Airlines at Newark Liberty
International Airport in New Jersey, was sentenced today to 29
months in prison for her participation in a $1 million Ponzi
scheme involving the sale of hundreds of fake airline ticket
vouchers. SCARDIGNO, 33, of Weehawken, New Jersey, was sentenced
in Manhattan federal court by U.S. District Judge JOHN G. KOELTL.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA stated: “Victoria
Scardigno sold unsuspecting travelers fake tickets for trips
about the world. With today’s sentence, now the only trip she
will take is to prison.”
According to the Indictment and other court documents,
as well as statements made during proceedings in the case:
While employed at Continental Airlines, SCARDIGNO
misappropriated from its offices hundreds of vouchers that were
used to compensate customers for flight delays, cancellations, or
situations in which passengers were denied boarding. She then
sold the vouchers to prospective passengers, on the fraudulent
pretext that they could be redeemed for round-trip tickets to
anywhere in the world. Continental offered no such voucher
program, and SCARDIGNO’s representations that the vouchers could
be redeemed for air travel were false. She sold over 2,100 such
vouchers at a purchase price of approximately $500 to $600.
When passengers attempted to redeem their vouchers,
SCARDIGNO used some of the fraud proceeds to purchase tickets for
them, in order to keep the fraudulent scheme going. Since the
cost of the tickets far exceeded the cost of the vouchers, most
of the passengers were unable to redeem their vouchers.
SCARDIGNO took in approximately $1 million from the fraud, which
she deposited directly into her personal bank account. She used
some of the illicit proceeds to pay off personal debts and to
purchase thousands of dollars of luxury goods from stores such as
Louis Vuitton and Coach.
* * *
In addition to the prison term, Judge KOELTL sentenced
SCARDIGNO to three years supervised release and ordered her to
forfeit $100,000 in proceeds of her crime.
Mr. BHARARA praised the investigative work of the FBI.
He also thanked the Corporate Security department of Continental
Airlines for their assistance
This matter is being handled by the Office’s Complex
Frauds Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney ANTONIA M. APPS is in
charge of the prosecution.