User-agent: * Allow: / Legal news, political opinion, Satire, and lawyer thinking by Tim Paynter, Attorney at Law: 50% Off Airline Tickets - Buy a book of 5 and save! You won't believe this deal!

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

50% Off Airline Tickets - Buy a book of 5 and save! You won't believe this deal!


If you believe the ad then you might be one of the many people who got hooked by a Loveland, Colorado con man.  Christopher B. Watts, 59, convinced $495,397 worth of people the offer was true.  All they had to do was buy a book of 5 tickets and what a bargain they had!

Most con men are pretty smart about fooling the customer and Watts was no different.  In order to redeem your ticket you had to go through Captain Chris.  That way, the mark had no dealings with the airline which made it harder to detect the fraud.

"He had a retirement package from the airlines"

How did Watts get such great deals?  Well, in some cases he worked for the airlines, or at least in the industry.  He also at times had a retirement package from the airlines in which he got free tickets or highly discounted tickets.

In some cases, the pressure must have been on.  To pacify some clients Watts went into the market and bought tickets at regular prices for his customers.  He then told them they were the discounted tickets instead of market priced tickets.

As a guess, Watts was running short of dough.  In order to come up with enough money to buy tickets he would convince customers to buy additional books using a credit card.  The credit card was used to directly buy tickets for complaining customers.  I guess if the customer isn't happy after getting taken on the first con, the way to handle it is con him again.  Sheesh.

In other cases, Watts used proceeds from checks from one customer to buy tickets for another.

Of course, schemes like this eventually come to an end.  There just isn't enough money to pay for all of the tickets, especially since customers were paying reduced prices and the con man got stuck at market price.  Eventually the FBI got wind of it and opened an investigation.  Watts was indicted and found himself in need of a good criminal lawyer.

"That is how much time Captain Chris
gets to spend time in the Penn"

The plea bargain made on may 9th, 2009, calls for Watts to pay back the money he stole.  Too bad for the customers, that won't happen for four years.  That is how long Captain Chris gets to spend time in the Penn according to the sentence handed down last Friday march 5th, 2010 by Judge Blackburn.   

Let's hope he doesn't pull the same deal with his fellow inmates.  They won't take a con like this lightly.  But then, if his con skills are really good, maybe he can sell a few tickets to the guys doing life! 

"He will be supervised when he gets out, just in case he goes to crime school"

Watts will spend plenty of his senior years in the pokey.  He will be nearly 70 years old when he rolls out of the Holiday Inn for cons.  He will be supervised when he gets out, just in case he goes to crime school while a guest.  I doubt they have a swimming pool or hot tub in prison so he will have to find something to occupy his time.  

“This case proves the age-old adage, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is,” said U.S. Attorney David Gaouette.

“This sentencing demonstrates the FBI’s continuing commitment to aggressively investigate complex financial crimes, especially when 90 victims are targeted by an individual,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge James Davis.

There is always one in the crowd.  In case you misunderstood, the advertisement is not for real, no tickets are being sold.  It is merely a headline to give you an idea of what an ad might have looked like.  I don't know and please don't call looking for discount tickets to Vegas.
Christopher Watts of Loveland, Colorado, sold books of airline tickets to unsuspecting travelers.  At least 90 people got hooked, and finally, so did Christopher, who will spend serious time thinking about what he has done.  If you get an offer for free room and board that looks like it came from the cross bar motel, you might want to think twice before sending your hard earned green-backs.  

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