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Saratoga Springs man admits hacking United Airlines website, selling travel vouchers

FILE: A Saratoga Springs man accused of hacking the United Airlines website to steal and then sell travel vouchers has pleaded guilty in a deal that could eventually get the charge against him dismissed.
FILE: A Saratoga Springs man accused of hacking the United Airlines website to steal and then sell travel vouchers has pleaded guilty in a deal that could eventually get the charge against him dismissed.
Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A Saratoga Springs man accused of hacking the United Airlines website to steal and then sell travel vouchers has pleaded guilty in a deal that could eventually get the charge against him dismissed.

Ammon Cunningham, 28, pleaded guilty Monday to a pattern of unlawful activity, a second-degree felony, while additional second-degree felony charges of computer crimes, theft and communications fraud were dismissed.

Cunningham's plea will be held in abeyance, which means a potential prison sentence will be stayed and the charge could be reduced to a class A misdemeanor in a year if he completes 80 hours of community service, pays restitution and commits no new crimes.

According to charging documents filed in May, from about July 2012 to September 2012, Cunningham "unlawfully accessed the United Airlines website and obtained personal identification numbers codes for electronic travel certificates that had been assigned to United customers but had not yet been redeemed by those customers."

After obtaining the travel vouchers, Cunningham would either use them for himself or sell them on Craigslist and KSL.com at deeply discounted rates, the charges state.

Cunningham used 13 certificates valued at more than $7,800 for personal travel and sold about 120 vouchers valued at more than $58,000 to others, according to charging documents.

One couple purchased two vouchers with a total value of about $2,400 for less than $2,000, the charges state, and booked a round-trip vacation from New Jersey to Munich.

In September 2012, Cunningham sent an email to United Airlines using an alias, claiming that he had "found a massive hole in the United.com website" which he was willing to share with them for $10,000 and first-class airline tickets to any destination in the world, the charges state.

Cunningham has no additional criminal history in Utah, according to state court records.

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero