Hotel worker charged over credit scams


A man who worked as a front desk manager at two New York hotels has been charged with masterminding a number of schemes, including one where he allegedly created fake travel agencies.Ralf Kwaschnik, 43, was extradited late last month from his home in Zurich, Switzerland, to face charges in the US of grand larceny and falsifying business records. The scams allegedly netted him nearly USD90,000, prosecutors said.

If convicted of both charges, Kwaschnik, who holds both American and German citizenship, could face up to 26 years in prison, according to a Reuters report.

Kwaschnik allegedly accepted cash from travellers paying their hotel bills, then pocketed the money and used his own credit cards to pay the charges.

He then made up guest complaints about the hotels and authorised refunds based on those complaints to more than a dozen credit cards that he used, prosecutors said.

Kwaschnik was also charged with creating two fake travel agencies based in Hawaii.

When travellers booked their own reservations, he collected the 10 per cent commission fee paid by the hotels to travel agencies, prosecutors said.

Kwaschnik was convicted in 1989 of stealing 1.7 million bonus air miles from American Airlines, where he worked as a ticket agent, and placed on five years’ probation.

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