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Ex-United Airlines flight attendant sentenced in bomb hoaxes

November 25, 2013|By Ruben Vives | This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
  • Patrick Cau, a former United Airlines flight attendant, was sentenced Friday to 18 months in federal prison.
Patrick Cau, a former United Airlines flight attendant, was sentenced… (KTLA-TV )

A 40-year-old man who pleaded guilty to making false bomb threats against his former employer, United Airlines, has been sentenced to prison, federal prosecutors said Monday.

United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II sentenced Patrick Cau, who also used the last name Kaiser, to 18 months in federal prison.  

Wright ordered Cau to pay $304,495 in restitution to United Airlines and reimburse $8,838 to the Los Angeles Police Department for the expenses incurred as a result of the bogus threats. 

Cau, a German citizen and former flight attendant for United, pleaded guilty in August to one count of giving false information and hoaxes. As part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Cau admitted to making bogus bomb threats against United from October 2012 to January.

Cau worked for the airline for 15 years, according to CNN and rose to the position of purser or flight attendant supervisor. He was fired in September 2011, before the threats began, prosecutors said. 

The first phone call to the carrier was made Oct. 4, 2012, from a pay phone near Cau's home in Los Angeles, where he lived at the time, according to prosecutors. The caller said a United Airlines flight from London to Los Angeles was going to be bombed.

Cau then made subsequent calls to 911 from pay phones in Los Angeles, New York City, Las Vegas and Seattle, prosecutors said. Each time, he said a specific United flight would be bombed.

Officials said Cau traveled to the cities, but was not working for any airlines. 

The hoaxes caused multiple law enforcement agencies to respond to evacuate and re-screen passengers, baggage and cargo. Police searched the planes with canines and other methods, prosecutors said.

Cau was arrested in Texas in May, about a month before he was cut from an American Airlines' flight attendant training program in Forth Worth. Cau's last known address was in Dallas.

[For the record, 10:04 p.m. PDT, Nov. 25, 2013: A previous version of this post incorrectly said Cau was fired Sept. 11, 2012.]

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Twitter: @latvives

ruben.vives@latimes.com

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