Prosecutors: Rental car workers defrauded company

Investigators say workers altered customers' reservations

SANFORD, Fla. - Two employees of an Avis Budget rental car office altered customers' contracts as part of a scheme that defrauded the company out of $137,000, according to a federal indictment.

Prosecutors said Lillian Sanchez and Harold Ferdinand used the company's nationwide computer system to change the customers' records to make it appear as if they had booked their car through a third-party travel agency, even if the customer has made the reservation directly through Avis Budget.

The rental car company pays a commission to those travel agencies based, among other things, on the customers' rental expenditure, according to court documents.

Sanchez and Ferdinand are accused of altering the contracts so AVYT Tours Orlando would receive the commission.

According to prosecutors, AVYT Tours is controlled by Sanchez's husband Albert.

Between January 2008 and March 2009, prosecutors said Avis Budget paid AVYT Tours approximately $137,000 in commissions. The Sanchezes then shared some of that money with Ferdinand, according to the indictment.

Ferdinand, Lillian Sanchez and Albert Sanchez are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Ferdinand declined to talk about his arrest with Local 6, saying he wanted to consult with his attorneys first. The Sanchezes could not be reached for comment.

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