On several occasions, McKinney flew from California to New York to pick up packages containing $50,000 or more in cash at John F. Kennedy International Airport or other locations in the city.
By Forum Staff
A former flight attendant has pleaded guilty to conspiring both to violate airport security requirements and to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, federal officials announced on Tuesday.
According to charging documents and statements made during the plea proceedings, between July and November 2017, Scott McKinney, 49, a flight attendant based in California, conspired with others to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business and to violate airport security requirements. On several occasions, McKinney flew from California to New York to pick up packages containing $50,000 or more in cash at John F. Kennedy International Airport or other locations in the city. He then flew back to California with the cash, federal prosecutors said. On some occasions, McKinney was on the ground at JFK for two hours or less before flying back to California.
At the time of these trips, McKinney did not have a money transmitting license in New York or California, and was not registered as a money transmitter with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. In a statement to agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations on or about Sept. 15, 2017, McKinney admitted that he was aware of the licensing requirement and lacked such a license.
To facilitate his illegal money transmitting business, McKinney used the Known Crewmember lane to bypass regular airport security screening. The KCM lane allows approved airline crewmembers to pass through security more quickly and, typically, without having their carry-on luggage screened, authorities noted. On several occasions, McKinney wore his crewmember uniform and used the KCM security lane – even though he was not working on those days – to smuggle bulk cash through airport security.
McKinney is set to be sentenced on Oct. 31. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.