A man was indicted this week after federal prosecutors say he earned more than 42 million Delta frequent-flyer miles by committing fraud.
“His Methods Are Trade Secret”: Travel Agent Gamed Delta Of $1.75 Million
Gennady Podolsky is a managing partner of a Chicago-based travel agency, Vega International Travel Services. According to prosecutors, he earned the miles through Deltas SkyBonus program, which allows businesses to earn frequent flyer “SkyMiles” when their employees travel.
According to the indictment, Podolsky created a SkyBonus account for a fertility center that was owned by a relative of Vegas president. When Podolskys customers flew Delta, booked through Vega Travel, he would enter the fertility centers SkyBonus information, even though the travelers were not employees of the fertility center, nor had any connection to it.
“Podolsky used his knowledge of the travel industry to take advantage of his travel agency clients,” U.S. Attorney Byung Pak said in a statement. “Through his access, he allegedly took advantage of Delta Airlines corporate frequent flyer program, illegally reaping millions of SkyBonus points worth more than $1.75 million dollars.”
Prosecutors say that Podolsky earned and redeemed more than 42 million SkyMiles this way, which the airline valued at $1.75 million.
Podolsky, a dual Ukrainian and American citizen, has been relatively prolific in his role as a travel agent and advisor. In a 2016 profile in Wired, Podolsky said that he preferred to think of himself as a “creative manager.”
Podolsky could not be reached for comment on Friday, and Delta did not immediately return a request for comment.