A Saratoga Springs man accused of hacking into the United Airlines website and stealing travel vouchers has pleaded guilty.
Ammon Cunningham pleaded guilty to a second-degree felony charge of a pattern of unlawful activity, while three additional felony charges of computer crimes, theft and communications fraud were dismissed as part of a plea deal. Cunningham’s plea was taken in abeyance and will be reduced to a class A misdemeanor after he pays restitution and completes 80 hours of community service, according to court documents.
According to a probable cause statement, a security specialist for United Airlines told investigators that Cunningham, also known as Jacob Colvin, hacked the website between July 2012 and September 2012 and obtained PIN codes and electronic travel certificates (ETC) that had been assigned to customers but not redeemed. Investigators say Cunningham either used the ETCs for personal travel or sold them through classified sites like Craigslist and KSL.com.
Cunningham reportedly contacted United Airlines in September 2012 saying he found a massive hole in the United Airlines website, but he would only give details of the problem if United paid him $10,000 and gave him first-class airfare or round-the-world tickets at no cost for him, his wife and his child.