Redwood City Virgin American employee sentenced to 6 months for fraud scheme

REDWOOD CITY (BCN) — A former Virgin America employee was sentenced to six months in jail Thursday for taking advantage of her job in a complicated scheme to get free flights for her friends, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Jocelyn Mallare, who will turn 54 next week, pleaded no contest in May to grand theft embezzlement for stealing thousands of dollars in flights and upgrades from her employer over six months in 2013, prosecutors said.

While working as a guest service representative at the company’s Burlingame headquarters, she started making fraudulent transactions, setting up travel accounts for her friends and then issuing credits to those accounts for “canceled” flights that were not in fact canceled, according to prosecutors.

Her friends used the fraudulently obtained credits to book flights or upgrade them, prosecutors said.The company discovered the fraud when an employee in Seattle noticed a flight purchased with a canceled flight credit that wasn’t
canceled. An audit revealed Mallare stole $54,440.14 that way. San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Leland Davis ordered her to pay that amount in restitution Thursday.

In addition to the six-month jail sentence, Mallare must complete five years of probation after her release. She has been free on $75,000 bail and has only 13 days credit for time served, Wagstaffe said.

The judge was somewhat lenient in the sentence since her plea agreement stipulated she be sentenced to no more than 16 months in jail, Wagstaffe said.

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