FORT WORTH, Texas -- Patrick Cau was in Fort Worth training to become an American Airlines flight attendant when he was arrested and federally charged with phoning in eight fake bomb threats to United Airlines.
Cau was indicted and taken into custody in Texas in May, but his case was transferred to Los Angeles, where he lives, and where he was when he allegedly called in more than one of the threats.
He is expected to plead guilty in a California federal court next week.
According to an 18-page plea agreement filed last week, Cau made eight bomb threat calls to United between October 2012 and January 2013. The first was on October 4. He used a pay phone near his Southern California home, calling an internal United crew-scheduling number to make the threat.
On seven other occasions, the document states Cau called 911 from pay phones in Los Angeles, New York City, Las Vegas and Seattle to claim a bomb was on board a specific United flight.
At least six of the flights were between Los Angeles and London.
The conduct resulted in substantial disruption to multiple law enforcement agencies, the document states, including evacuating people from the targeted airplanes, towing the aircraft to a safe area, searching and re-screening all ticketed passengers and all baggage and cargo, and searching the aircraft by human, canine and other detection methods.
United claims it had to cancel and delay flights and it estimates it lost at least $267,912 due to Cau's actions.
The plea deal states Cau must pay $250,000 in restitution to United. A judge will have the final say in sentencing, but the U.S. Attorney recommends he serve 21 to 27 months. The maximum sentence is five years in prison.
American Airlines would not confirm the date Cau was accepted to its flight attendant training academy, but says a rigid background check on him revealed nothing. An airline representative said the carrier followed all standard procedures for vetting a potential employee, and Cau was immediately terminated.
News 8 obtained an e-mail from an American employee, who claims she received it after word about Cau began spreading. The message states that Cau was discovered to have been placed on the TSAs no-fly list after background checks had been completed.
The federal investigation had not caught up to this individual until after training had started, the e-mail said.
While the airline told News 8 the incident sparked no policy change, the e-mail suggests otherwise, saying American has since worked to make changes to our new hire curriculum ensuring that safety and security information is not shared with trainees until later in the program, and closer to their graduation date.
A call to Cau's attorney was not returned.