Former MHT airline employee pleads guilty to ordering pizza, plane tickets using stolen passenger credit card info

Paul Feely, The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester
·2 min read

Apr. 30—A former airline employee at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport pleaded guilty in federal court this week to fraud charges involving more than $31,500 in charges made with stolen credit card numbers — including a $112 order from a local Domino's, officials said.

Hayder Lefta, 24, of Manchester, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to six counts of access device fraud, Acting U.S. Attorney John J. Farley said in a statement.

While working as a United Airlines customer service representative at the airport in 2018 and 2019, Lefta copied the credit card numbers of airline customers, according to court documents and statements in court.

Lefta then used the credit card numbers to purchase airline flights and meals for himself and for friends, to pay for hotels for his leisure travel and for other personal expenses.

According to court documents, a customer who traveled through the airport on or about Sept. 17, 2018 later noticed unauthorized charges on his credit card that included $112.31 at Domino's Pizza in Manchester, tickets on Turkish Airlines in the amounts of $2,657 and $1,488, and other attempted fraudulent charges.

Investigators determined Lefta was working as a United customer service representative and processed the customer's credit card at the airport. They also determined that the Domino's pizza order was placed from Lefta's telephone number and delivered to the airport to someone matching Lefta's description.

The investigation also linked the Turkish Airlines tickets to Lefta. Investigators interviewed the people in whose names the tickets were purchased. They said Lefta purchased the tickets for them and they paid him $1,800 in cash.

On Jan. 8, 2019, Lefta was arrested while working at the airport, court documents show. Three cellular telephones, an iPad and a computer belonging to him were seized during the arrest.

On the devices, investigators found numerous credit card numbers on screen shots from airline computer terminals. They also recovered screen shots of passengers' names and personal information.

Investigators contacted credit card account holders one by one and identified at least 12 victims who traveled through Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and whose credit cards Lefta processed.

Lefta, who is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 17, is required by his plea agreement to pay restitution to his victims, officials said.

"Crimes that involve the theft of credit card numbers or other personal information have serious consequences for their victims," said Farley in a statement.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Air Marshal Service and Londonderry police.

pfeely@unionleader.com