April 6, 2018
By Bob Coleman
Editor, Fraud Friday
Fraud Friday — Fraudulent Financial Statements Key in Orchestrating $30 Million Fraud
“Judy Tull and Kay Ellison stole passengers’ money to try and prop up their failing company,” says Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “Their brazen scheme created a multimillion dollar shortfall that left passengers stranded at airports, and banks and credit card companies scrambling to pick up the pieces.
“This important case is just the latest example of the pivotal role the Fraud Section plays in the Department of Justice’s ongoing efforts to combat white collar fraud.”
“This investigation demonstrates the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General’s commitment to protecting the traveling public from fraudulent schemes involving charter flight operations,” says DOT-OIG Regional Special Agent in Charge Damiani. “We will continue our vigorous efforts in preventing, detecting and prosecuting fraud that erodes the public’s confidence in the integrity of transportation-related goods and services.”
Judy and Kay made “ghost reservations” to make it seem there were like more passengers on flights and more revenue was generated.
To cover up their fraud, Judy and Kay falsified profit and loss statements to make the company look like it was making money rather than losing money, and sent these falsified documents to credit card companies and banks to trick them into continuing to do business with the company.
When the company filed for bankruptcy, passengers bought tens of thousands of tickets for future travel. A bank account should have had more than $30 million, but an investigation found only $1 million in the account, according to the indictments.
Tull, 73, and Ellison, 58, were each convicted of eight counts of bank and wire fraud. Sentencing is July 17, 2018.
Robert Keilman, 73, Direct Air’s former Chief Financial Officer, earlier pled guilty to fraud and is also awaiting sentencing.