Manhattan DA Bragg: Private Air Travel Broker Charged with Stealing Millions from Clients
Edited by: TJVNews.com
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. today announced the indictment of WILLIAM BOOS, 55, a private air travel broker, for stealing more than $3 million from an international consulting firm, more than $1 million from an international art gallery and $63,000 from a television journalist over the span of three years – between December 2017 and December 2020. BOOS is charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with two counts of Grand Larceny in the First Degree, one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, two counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree and 32 counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Third Degree.
“William Boos thought he could fly above the law, allegedly using his clients’ American Express cards without authorization to siphon off millions for himself. But now, thanks to the hard work of my office, he’s landed in hot water,” said District Attorney Bragg. “New Yorkers deserve to book air travel without worrying about falling victim to theft and criminal fraud. We protect New Yorkers and companies from this type of criminal fraud. If any company or individual believes they have been the victim of theft, I encourage them to report financial crimes by calling 212-335-8900.”
According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, BOOS charged a major international consulting firm with an office in Manhattan millions of dollars for flights its employees did not take between December 2017 and May 2018. BOOS had a long-standing business relationship with the firm and had access to one of its American Express credit accounts to charge the firm for legitimate private charter flights. BOOS took advantage of this relationship and charged the firm’s credit card more than $3 million, without its knowledge, for flights the firm’s employees had never requested or taken.
BOOS also stole more than $1 million from an art gallery with a Manhattan office which he had provided private air travel services. Typically, the gallery paid Direct Airway directly for its trips via wire transfers. However, in September 2019, BOOS used the art gallery’s American Express account information, without its knowledge, to pay for the flights that he had booked for the art gallery — as well as for some of his other unrelated customers — essentially charging the gallery twice for the travel. When the gallery noticed the unauthorized travel charges and contacted BOOS, he claimed that the charges had been made in error and assured the art gallery that it would receive refunds. He then sent 24 forged documents to the art gallery purporting to show refunds to the American Express account.
BOOS also stole more than $63,000 from a Manhattan-based television journalist in December 2020 when the journalist booked a roundtrip flight. BOOS sent two forged contracts purportedly signed by the journalist to the charter plane provider he brokered for the flight. In those contracts, BOOS provided the journalist’s American Express credit card information without the journalist’s knowledge. Although the journalist paid BOOS for the flights by wiring funds directly to Direct Airway, BOOS did not send this money to the charter plane provider. The charter plane provider charged the journalist’s American Express credit card account instead, resulting in the journalist being billed twice for the same flights.
When confronted, BOOS blamed the charter flight company and sent forged letters purportedly issued by the company apologizing for the error. He also sent the journalist’s personal assistant forged documents purporting to show refunds to the journalist’s American Express account in the amounts of the unauthorized charges.
The investigation into BOOS and his company, Direct Airway, began after American Express notified the Manhattan DA’s office about the suspicious activity.
Major Economic Crimes Bureau (“MECB”) Deputy Chief Christine Payne and Assistant D.A. Natallia Krauchuk are handling the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant D.A. Julieta V. Lozano (MECB Chief), Executive Assistant D.A. Christopher Conroy, Senior Advisor to the Investigations Division, and Executive Assistant District Attorney Susan Hoffinger, Chief of the Investigations Division. Principal Financial Investigator Michael Vecchio provided financial analysis for this investigation, supervised by Irene Serrapica, Principal Deputy Bureau Chief, and Robert Demarest, Chief of Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigations. Paralegals Miranda Coombe and Madison Dyer and former paralegals Anna Bruckner and Anna Jurew provided analysis and assistance in the investigation.
D.A. Bragg thanked retired NYPD detective Armando Coutinho and Detective Oscar Nieves of the NYPD-FBI Joint Major Theft Task Force for their assistance in the investigation. D.A. Bragg also thanked the Orange County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office’s Fugitive Unit for its assistance on this matter.