Ex-marketing executive gets prison for $855K fraud plot

A Maryland woman has been sentenced to more than three years in prison for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from an airline and a hospitality company that each employed her as a marketing executive

GREENBELT, Md. -- A Maryland woman was sentenced Tuesday to more than three years in prison for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from an airline and a hospitality company that both employed her as a marketing executive, prosecutors said.

U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte also sentenced Rebecca Jelfo, 47, of Silver Spring, to three years of supervised release after her 41-month prison term, U.S. Attorney Robert Hur’s office said in a news release. She could have faced up to 20 years in federal prison.

Jelfo used false and inflated invoices from vendors for marketing services or products to defraud her former employers out of more than $855,000, using the money to cover personal credit card debts and expenses, according to a court filing.

Jelfo pleaded guilty in September to one count of wire fraud. The judge ordered her to pay full restitution.

Court records describe Jelfo's former employers as a global airline and a global hospitality company but don't name them. Jelfo served as head of marketing and communications for the airline from 2008 through 2015 and was a senior director of luxury brand marketing for the hospitality company between January 2016 and January 2018. Her duties at both companies included contracting with marketing vendors and approving invoices.

Jelfo caused the airline to remit more than $263,000 in overpayments and caused the hospitality company to remit more than $591,000 in overpayments, according to a court filing she signed.

One vendor made payments totaling $41,000 to Jelfo's credit card accounts with upscale department stores Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, the filing says. The same vendor purchased American Express gift cards that Jelfo used for personal expenses, including more than $7,000 for purchases at a high-end furniture store in Washington, D.C.