Skycap Facing Fraud Charges Involved In Bank Theft
MIAMI (CBS4) A skycap accused of stealing passenger's baggage fees at Miami International Airport is making headlines again.
Jorge Uscamayta, 62, was questioned by the FBI in September after he and his son were held hostage in their Kendall apartment for more than 7 hours.
Uscamayta's son Diego, a teller at the Bank Of America in Coral Gables on South Dixie Highway, was then taken to the bank early in the morning with a bomb strapped to his chest. He was then forced to turn over and undisclosed amount of cash to the suspects.
While the crime was unfolding, Jorge Uscamayta was tied up in the apartment.
Diego Uscamayta was cleared of any wrongdoing in the case,
Now, the elder Uscamayta is one of more than a dozen airline employees facing fraud and theft charges in connection with the airline scheme.
The FBI has not commented on Uscamayta's recent arrest.
All suspects appeared before a bond court judge Thursday.
A total of 18 skycaps were arrested including: Luis Zapata, 24; Josue Rojas, 31; Eric Johnson, 56; Victor Casilla, 21; Maxo Felix, 40; Jonathan Schettini, 26; Yves Deri, 28; Arnaldo Sanchez, 29; Joel Rodriguez, 28; Emil Raymond De Leon, 34; Renant LaLeau, 39; Heriberto Maldonado, 48; Jorge Alberto Martinez, 34; and Terry Bowens, 52.
Circuit Judge Nushin Sayfie ordered 13 of them to be released without posting bond, but they must meet certain conditions including surrendering their airport IDs, uniforms and they must stay away from Miami International Airport.
All of the suspects worked as skycaps for Eulen American Corporation, a company subcontraced by American Airlines. They are accused of charging passengers for luggage and overweight fees, waiving the fees in the airline's computer system and pocketing the cash.
All nine of the suspects have been charged with Organized Scheme to Defraud and Grand Theft. The investigation is ongoing and authorities expect several more arrests.
American Airlines released this statement Wednesday afternoon:
"This investigation was initiated by American Airlines and we were actively involved throughout, working closely with the Miami-Dade Police Department, which did an excellent job. Although the skycaps arrested are not American Airlines employees, they were contracted to provide service to our passengers on our behalf. We take these matters quite seriously and have no patience for this type of behavior. Any other information should come from the Miami-Dade Police Department since this is now a police matter."
Transportation Security Administration Miami Security Director Mark Hatfield said he did not believe the scam posed a security risk.