Texas man gets prison term in fake-ID scheme for free airline flights: prosecutors

Defendant was also ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution to Spirit Airlines

A convicted man from Texas has been sentenced to prison for conspiring to fraudulently obtain free Spirit Airlines flights for himself and others, as well as making fake employee identification badges in order to get the flights, prosecutors said.

The defendant, identified as Hubbard Bell, 32, from Houston, had previously worked for Mesa Airlines, which gives its employees free tickets for Spirit Airlines flights as a perk. However, Bell was terminated from his job at Mesa in 2015. 

From February 2016 to November 2017, Bell reportedly worked with several other people to allegedly sell "stolen and unauthorized information of Mesa employees," which would allow them to book free flights, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California. 

A man from Texas has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for allegedly scheming to make fake employee identification badges in order to get free Spirit Airlines <a href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/travel" target="_blank">flights</a> for himself and others. (iStock)

A man from Texas has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for allegedly scheming to make fake employee identification badges in order to get free Spirit Airlines <a href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/travel" target="_blank">flights</a> for himself and others. (iStock)

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Bell also reportedly "unlawfully used his Mesa employee information" to book 34 free Spirit Airlines flights for himself, per the release.

He "also admitted he and his co-conspirators manufactured and sold fraudulent Mesa employee identification cards for use by the fraudulent travelers," the release said. 

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Overall, Bell’s scheme led to a total of 1,953 free flights for people who were not Mesa employees, the release stated. 

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"The court found the loss to Spirit Airlines was approximately $150,000," the release said.

Bell pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in September. On Wednesday, he was sentenced to 30 months -- or two and a half years -- in federal prison and was ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution to Spirit Airlines. 

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Five alleged co-conspirators pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to go on trial in April, the release said.

Fox News was unable to locate an attorney for Bell.