Laura Chico-Moreira, 37, of Ozone Park who had previously done business under the name of XLJE Tours, allegedly sold adult fare airline tickets, then reported that the bookings had been for lower-priced infant fares and pocketed the difference, said Queens DA Richard Brown.Chico-Moreira has been charged with grand larceny and falsifying business records and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. The district attorney said Chico-Moreira has been accused of stealing more than $55,000 between Dec. 22, 2002 and June 15, 2003 from Grupo Taca Airlines, a Miami-based airline that serves Central and South America. She allegedly sold dozens of full fare adult tickets to her customers and then informed the airline that the tickets had been booked for infants, Brown said."According to the charges, the defendant sold airline tickets to adult customers, reported to the airline that the sales had been for lower priced infant's tickets and retained the proceeds for herself," the DA said. Chico-Moreira has also been accused of unemployment insurance fraud for allegedly declaring she was not employed when she actually was self-employed as a travel agent and had received $4,425 in state benefits, according to the district attorney. "The defendant apparently believed that she could conceal her wrongdoing, but she was mistaken and will now face prosecution." he said.The alleged ticketing scheme was exposed when an airline customer made a complaint that prompted an audit, after she learned her ticket had been reserved for an infant instead of an adult.Chico-Moreira was arrested last Thursday at LaGuardia Airport by detectives assigned to Brown's New York Police Department Detective Squad.She is being held pending arraignment in Queens Criminal Court.Reach Alison Daley by e-mail at news@times
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