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Two Former Airline Industry Executives Convicted of Orchestrating a Multimillion-Dollar Scheme To Steal Passengers’ Money from an Escrow Account

On March 28, 2018, a Federal jury in U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, convicted Judy Tull, former chief executive officer, and Kay Ellison, former vice president and managing partner, Myrtle Beach Direct Air and Tours (Direct Air), a now-bankrupt public air charter operator. Tull and Ellison participated in a scheme to steal millions of dollars from an escrow account; the money was intended to pay for passengers’ future travel. Direct Air was headquartered in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with operations in Daniels, West Virginia. 

Tull and Ellison were each convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting financial institutions and bank fraud, four substantive counts of wire fraud affecting financial institutions, and three substantive counts of bank fraud. 

Robert Keilman, Direct Air’s former chief financial officer, previously pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his role in this scheme and is awaiting sentencing.

This case was investigated by DOT-OIG and the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, Securities and Financial Fraud Unit.