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Ex-airport worker pleads guilty in $134k cellphone scheme

June 12, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A former Tennessee airport worker has pleaded guilty to a federal charge for fraudulently buying and re-selling $134,600 in cellphones.

U.S. Attorney Donald Cochran’s office says 52-year-old John Pat Banister Sr. pleaded guilty Monday to the mail fraud charge from his time as a telecommunications service manager at the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, which oversees Nashville International Airport.

Prosecutors say the Springfield man used his airport credentials to fraudulently order 282 cellphones at the authority’s expense and sell them for profit.

During a plea hearing Monday, prosecutors say Banister admitted to the scheme spanning February 2015 through January 2017.

They say he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 maximum fine.

Authority spokeswoman Shannon Sumrall said the agency initially investigated, then referred the matter to Cochran’s office.

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