Teenager deceived executives into thinking he was airline tycoon

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19 year old self-made millionaire teaches people how to get some on the side!


A teenager conned British aviation bosses into believing he was a tycoon by showing them elaborate plans on setting up his own airline.

The 17-year-old from York bluffed his way through meetings, created fictitious fellow executives of his ‘airline’ and set-up fake websites to bolster his story.

With an imaginative twist, he even made-up an American parent company which signed off emails ‘American Global Group, 35 Countries, 22 Languages, One Team’.

Similarities have been drawn with the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr, who convinced Pan Am he was a pilot while he was just a teenager in the 1960s, and whose exploits featured in the Leonardo DiCaprio film Catch Me if You Can,

The smooth-talking teenager, said to be autistic and with a huge knowledge of the intricacies of the air industry, operated under pseudonym Adam Tait.

The scam ended at Southend Airport on Monday, where the youngster had apparently set-up a meeting with an aircraft leasing firm, as he prepared to board a 93-seat plane his ‘company’ wanted to buy.

The hoax was uncovered by the industry magazine Airliner World. But police said the boy, who told airline bosses he was in his twenties, would not be prosecuted.

An Essex Police spokesman said: ‘As a result of information received from a member of the public on Saturday July 11, Essex Police and security staff at Southend Airport refused a man access to the air-side section of the airport on Monday July 13.

‘No offences were committed and Essex Police is taking no further action.’

Airliner World first became aware of the teenager when he contacted the magazine with his ambitious plans to establish an airline in the Channel Islands.

The publication spoke to contacts who had heard rumours about a new player in the area, and ran a small item on his creation, Channel Connect Airways.

Richard Maslen, Airliner World deputy editor, said: ‘A representative from the company, now known as Island Airways, contacted us again by email on July 4 and following a conversation with the individual on July 6, I had some serious concerns over his story.

‘After an initial investigation by the magazine we asked one of our freelance journalists, Martin Foley, to investigate this on our behalf.

‘Over the subsequent week Martin and I worked closely to unravel this mysterious story and were able to disprove many of the claims that the company was making.’

The magazine tipped-off the police who intervened at the airport.

By then the boy had been in negotiations with the Guernsey government-owned airline Aurigny, among others.

Its commercial manager Malcolm Coupar told the Sunday Times: ‘Some of the things he said were the sort of things that were indicative that there might have been some substance to his claims.

‘If they were real then there would have been opportunities for us to expand our business and that’s not the sort of thing we are going to ignore.’

Claims about start-ups were frequently made in the air industry, Mr Maslen said, and while airports tried to avoid wasting time on long-shots, they did not want to miss a business opportunity.

He said: ‘You can imagine what Luton Airport first thought when Stelios Haji-Ioannou first approached them and said he was going to launch easyJet.

‘An airline that painted the tails of its aircraft bright orange, initially had its telephone booking number in enormous letters across the fuselage of its aircraft, made passengers pay for food and drink onboard with fares cheaper than a pair of jeans.’

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