Airline Staff Member in Dubai Scams Customers, Steals More than DHS162,000
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Airline Staff Member in Dubai Scams Customers, Steals More than DHS162,000

A ticket reservation employee at a Dubai-based airline has been accused of scamming customers by charging them extra amounts on tickets by modifying official receipts

A ticketing staff member at a Dubai-based airline office has been accused of stealing DHS162,155 from customers. According to reports, the 30-year-old Syrian expat had been working for the airline since 2016. From September 2018 onwards, he charged between AED 60 and DHS18,000 extra on 36 tickets by modifying official purchase receipts and recording lower amounts in the books. He was caught in September 2019 during an audit and recently appeared before the Dubai Court of First Instance. He admitted to committing the scam, attributing it to his financial struggles. According to news reports, a 39-year-old Lebanese security controller in the airline company shared in the records, “We discovered that he was selling the tickets at high prices and would reduce the amount in the system. He used to pocket the difference for his benefit.”

“For example, he would sell a DHS5,000 ticket for DHS7,000, then pocket the difference. Sometimes he used to reduce the ticket’s tax for his benefit or promote the ticket from economy to business without making a mention of that in the system,” he added.

The defendant was arrested after the company discovered the scam and reported him to Dubai Police. During police interrogation, he admitted to the embezzlement through tampering of e-data, i.e., by increasing the price of tickets or upgrading the class. He said he was willing to pay back the amount and reach a settlement with the airline, confessing to all charges in the courtroom on Sunday. However, Dubai Public Prosecution has charged him with embezzlement of public funds, forgery of e-documents and the use of forged e-documents. The defendant is currently in detention and his next hearing is scheduled for 15th March 2020.

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By Ayesha Hoda
Ayesha Hoda is a senior communications professional and writer, currently based in Dubai, UAE.