American Eagle Gate Agent Pocketed Money: Police

By Scott Gordon
|  Friday, Jun 10, 2011  |  Updated 1:50 AM CDT
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An American Eagle employee is accused of pocketing $120 from a traveler to change a flight when no such fee was required.

Scott Gordon, NBCDFW.com

An American Eagle employee is accused of pocketing $120 from a traveler to change a flight when no such fee was required.

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An American Eagle gate agent was arrested Tuesday and charged with pocketing $120 from a traveler to change a flight when no such fee was required.

Frankie Lee Walton Jr., 38, of Grand Prairie, was booked on a single charge of theft, but a police report indicates that he is suspected of doing the same thing to at least one other person.

The airline began an investigation last month.

A California woman told investigators her flight on May 8 arrived nine minutes late to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and she missed her connecting flight to Greenville, S.C.

She said Walton agreed to route her through Atlanta because the next flight to Greenville didn't leave for several hours.

"He informed me that it would be an additional charge," she was quoted as saying in a police report. "So I asked him how much that would be, and he said, 'Hmmm, about $120.'"

The woman said the agent told her she needed to pay in cash.

"Then he said, 'We don't have a [credit card] machine here, so do you have cash?'" she said.

He pointed her to a nearby ATM, she said.

She then got suspicious when the agent didn't give her a receipt and appeared to pocket the money.

"He put the money into a manila envelope which he then put in his pocket," she said. "He gave me the tickets, and I quickly realized that he never gave me a copy of my receipt and everything was very unprofessional."

She said another gate agent later told her she should not have been charged any money because her connecting flight was late.

The airline determined Walton made the flight change with no indication in the computer system that he had taken any money from her, the police report said.

The police report also said Walton is under investigation for a second incident on May 31 when another passenger complained Walton charged him a fictitious change fee of $50.

American Eagle spokesman Tim Smith said the airline suspended Walton as soon as the allegations were made.

"In these situations, we have no patience for any type of employee dishonesty," he said. "It's an affront to tens of thousands of hard-working, honest employees."

Walton could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

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