Remember the unsolved bank robbery in Coral Gables that disrupted University of Miami students and left a bomb strapped to a teller's chest? The bank teller told police his father had been held hostage at their Kendall apartment during the robbery. But now, months after the robbery, the bank teller's father's honesty is being questioned.
Jorge Uscamayta, 62, appeared before a judge Thursday on accusations of fraud at Miami International Airport in a scheme that involved more than a dozen airline employees of Eulen American Corporation, an American Airlines contractor.
The charges come only a few months after the FBI cleared he and his son Diego, the teller at the Bank Of America in Coral Gables, of any wrong doing in the robbery.
Both father and son alleged the robbery suspects tied up and kidnapped Jorge in a Kendall apartment and forced Diego to turn over and undisclosed amount of cash.
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Now he is part of a group accused of charging passengers for luggage and overweight fees, waiving the fees in the airline's computer system and then pocketing the cash.
Also arrested in the MIA scheme were Luis Zapata, 24; Josue Rojas, 31; Eric Johnson, 56; Victor Casilla, 21; Maxo Felix, 40; Jonathan Schettini, 26; Yves Deri, 28; Arnaldo Sanchez, 29; Joel Rodriguez, 28; Emil Raymond De Leon, 34; Renant LaLeau, 39; Heriberto Maldonado, 48; Jorge Alberto Martinez, 34; and Terry Bowens, 52.
Circuit Judge Nushin Sayfie ordered 13 of them to be released without posting bond. Nine of the suspects were charged with organized scheme to defraud and grand theft. The investigation is ongoing and authorities expect several more arrests.
American Airlines released a statement Wednesday afternoon:
"This investigation was initiated by American Airlines and we were actively involved throughout, working closely with the Miami-Dade Police Department," said an American Airlines employee in a statement.
Transportation Security Administration Miami Security Director Mark Hatfield said he did not believe the scam posed a security risk. The FBI has not commented on Uscamayta's recent arrest.