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Malcolm

Mis-Sure of Travel Credits results in Conviction

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Former WestJet employee pleads guilty to defrauding airline of $138K in travel credits

A former WestJet employee has admitted to defrauding the company of more than $138,000 by issuing travel dollars to his friends and others who would pay him for the credits.

Terance Gough will be sentenced later this month for committing fraud over $5,000

CBC News · Posted: Nov 07, 2018 12:12 PM MT | Last Updated: 2 hours ago
 
terance-gough.JPG
Terance Gough pleaded guilty to defrauding his former employer, WestJet, of more than $130,000 in travel dollars. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

A former WestJet employee has admitted to defrauding the company of more than $138,000 by issuing travel dollars to his friends and others who would pay him for the credits.

Terance Gough pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000 on Wednesday — ahead of his trial, which was supposed to begin Nov. 19 — after a plea deal was arranged by defence lawyer James Salimi and prosecutor Lucia Calisi.

 

Gough began working for WestJet in 2008 in guest relations and began his three-year scheme in 2012.

All of the details of Gough's crime come from an agreed statement of facts read aloud in court by Calisi on Wednesday.

$145K in WestJet dollars issued

Gough was responsible for resolving customer complaints with the company and could issue travel credits up to $350 for flights with WestJet. In order to do that, he had to verify the complaint was valid and the person had, in fact, travelled with the airline.

In 2015, WestJet launched an internal investigation after noting Gough had issued significantly more WestJet dollars than any other staff member.

It found Gough had issued credits to people who had not complained to the company and people who had not even travelled with WestJet.

The internal investigation revealed Gough fraudulently issued more than $145,000 in WestJet dollars — with more than $138,000 already used — between February 2012 and August 2015.

2nd WestJet employee involved

The airline involved the financial crimes division of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) after realizing the magnitude of the fraud.

ALERT began contacting the recipients of the fraudulent credits.

One friend of the fraudster's who had been given $16,000 in WestJet dollars told investigators he would pay half of the value of the travel credits to Gough and another WestJet employee.

The other employee gave Gough travel bank account numbers for where the credits would be deposited.

He told police he and Gough would share the money that people paid them for the travel credits.

Gough was ultimately fired from WestJet in September 2015.

Justice Blair Nixon will hear sentencing submissions on Nov. 26. Although Calisi told the judge there would be a joint position on sentencing, she did not indicate what Crown and defence lawyers would propose.

Calisi also indicated WestJet would be preparing a victim impact statement for the hearing. A member of the airline's corporate security team was in court for the plea on Wednesday.

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Well, in my opinion, WestJet took the high road, did not attempt to hide things and thereby did nothing but  increase the moral of the majority of their employees who played by the rules.  Well done!

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18 minutes ago, Malcolm said:

Well, in my opinion, WestJet took the high road, did not attempt to hide things and thereby did nothing but  increase the moral of the majority of their employees who played by the rules.  Well done!

Hard to hide this issue when CBC reports it and it is on the court's docket..

Why did WestJet not report this in 2015, this fellow was fired in 2015..?... Was this information disseminated to the Press and  to all employees in 2015/16 ??

Do you mean "morale" and if so, how did that increase the moral?/morale of the employees?

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23 hours ago, Kip Powick said:

Hard to hide this issue when CBC reports it and it is on the court's docket..

Why did WestJet not report this in 2015, this fellow was fired in 2015..?... Was this information disseminated to the Press and  to all employees in 2015/16 ??

Do you mean "morale" and if so, how did that increase the moral?/morale of the employees?

The person who took advantage of the system was punished. Other corporations might have reacted by limiting  the benefits of all employees.  As to why no mention made in 2015./16, if it was before the courts then silence was golden.

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What a way to ruin one's life. C3 had an F/A bring a large quantity of ecstasy back from one of his/her pairings only to be caught by customs and charged by the RCMP. That's not what ruined his/her life. What ruined his/her life was fleeing Canada back to The Netherlands and then being extradited back to Canada.

It's actually quite surprising we don't hear more stories like the lead on this thread. Our industry is such a lucrative source of opportunity to do bad.

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What surprises me, actually two things;  that Westjet didn't have better procedures to audit the processes and that the this person would think they could get away with it.  How could a corporation have a system that allows an employee to refund/rebate travel credit without a corresponding  audit procedure?  Huge error in allowing this.  Also, what kind of moron would think that they could get away with this?  Eventually, it would come out.

 

 

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Strong message here, let us hope others, if they exist (other airlines included)  will pay heed.

Quote

Calgary

WestJet employee sentenced to prison for defrauding airline of $145K in travel credits

WestJet employee sentenced to prison for defrauding airline of $145K in travel credits

A former WestJet employee has been sentenced to two years in prison and will have to pay $15,000 in restitution for defrauding the airline of more than $145,000 in travel credits.

He'll also have to pay $15,000 in restitution

Sarah Rieger · CBC News · Posted: Nov 26, 2018 5:36 PM MT | Last Updated: 38 minutes ago
 
Terance Gough has been sentenced to two years in prison for defrauding his former employer WestJet of more than $130,000 in travel dollars. (Meghan Grant/CBC)
 

A former WestJet employee has been sentenced to two years in prison and will have to pay $15,000 in restitution for fraudulently issuing $145,000 in travel credits for the airline.

Terance Gough was sentenced Monday in Calgary for fraud for issuing travel credits to friends between 2012 and 2015 while he worked in guest relations.

He had pleaded guilty earlier this month after a plea deal was arranged between the defence lawyer and prosecutor.

Gough's defence lawyer said his client addressed the court during sentencing to express remorse. 

In his job, Gough was responsible for resolving customer complaints and had the ability to issue travel credits for up to $350 if a person's complaint was valid.

An internal investigation found he had issued credits to people who had not complained to the company or even travelled with WestJet.

WestJet brought in the financial crimes division of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team, who contacted the recipients of the credits. One, who had been given $16,000 in WestJet dollars, said he would pay half of the value of credits to Gough and another WestJet employee.

Of the $145,000 travel credits he issued, $138,000 were used.

Gough was fired from WestJet in 2015.

 

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