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HBPD Looking for Online Scam Victims

A man claiming to be an airline employee conned readers of an online social media site.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Originally posted at 8:43 p.m. Dec. 3, 2012. No charges were filed in this case.

Hermosa Beach police are looking for victims of a con man who sold them bogus airline tickets at a discount.

Jian Huang, 39, of San ramon, who used the names David Huang, James Lee or Jim Lee, allegedly scammed a Hermosa Beach resident who contacted HBPD on Nov. 17 to report the crime. The victim stated that a person he initially met on a social Internet website promising in a post “Unrestricted airline credits for half off” sold him airline tickets for $900. He later discovered the tickets were not paid for.

In response to the report, HBPD detectives set up a meeting with Huang on Nov. 29, arresting him for use of an access card, identity theft and theft through false pretenses, said HBPD Detective Mick Gaglia.

Huang lured victims by claiming he was an airline employee selling unused credits. 

When arrested, Huang admitted to HBPD that he used stolen credit card information obtained while working at a property management company, using the stolen cards to book online airline tickets on his laptop when meeting with victims. Huang would meet potential victims at coffee shops that had Wi-Fi access, using it to book flights, then giving the victims a confirmation number in exchange for cash.

As owners of the stolen cards reported the fraudulent charges on their accounts, the credit card companies would cancel the airline's payment. When victims showed up at an airport with their confirmation number, they would find out the flight had not been paid for, according to police.

Huang stated that he victimized several people with his scam, said Det. Gaglia and that HBPD has been contacted by other victims.

"He was mobile, he went all over," said Det. Gaglia of Huang.

Victims of Huang can contact HBPD Detective Michael Frilot at (310) 318-0332 or via email at mfrilot@hermosapolice.org.

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