A onetime supervisor at Delta Air Lines and its predecessor, Northwest Airlines, has been charged with defrauding his employer out of $22 million as part of a long-running plot with a cohort in California that helped fund lavish purchases at some of Beverly Hills' signature retailers.
Paul Anderson, 57, of Apple Valley, and Michael Yedor, 62, of Los Angeles, were indicted in federal court in Atlanta on one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and 96 counts of mail fraud.
Yedor was apprehended while on his 72-foot yacht in San Diego on June 21. Anderson has not been arrested, and the U.S. attorney's office declined Tuesday to say whether he is considered a fugitive.
"The longevity and scope of the scheme to defraud Delta is simply astonishing," U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a statement. "The indictment is an important first step in finally bringing these defendants to justice after so many years of engaging in fraud."
Attached to the indictment was a list of transactions that read like a Who's Who of posh Beverly Hills retailers. One was for $37,000 at Cartier, another for $43,000 at Chanel. Other stores where the ill-gotten gains were spent included Luis Vuitton, Gucci, Saks and Hermès. The document did not specify which defendant shopped at these stores.
A Delta spokesman confirmed that Anderson no longer works for the Atlanta-based airline, but declined to explain how the alleged scheme was exposed or whether the company has acted to prevent such fraud from being repeated.
According to prosecutors:
Anderson, who signed on with Eagan-based Northwest in 1979, oversaw installation, maintenance and upgrading of radio communications for the airlines' control and crisis centers starting in 1986. He continued with Delta after the two airlines merged in 2009.
Anderson began his scheme with Yedor in 2004 by submitting numerous false invoices on behalf of Airborne Voice and Data, purportedly owned by Yedor. The invoices sought payment from the airlines for goods and services from Airborne that were never provided. Payments were for at little as $11,000 but topped $200,000 at least seven times.
In exchange for approving each invoice, Anderson received a kickback in the scheme that didn't come to an end until last year.