Ex-airport official accused of stealing $130K in cellphones

Friday, April 6, 2018, Vol. 42, No. 14

NASHVILLE (AP) — A Tennessee man is accused of stealing more than $130,000 in cellphones through his former role as an airport authority official.

The Tennessean quotes a federal charging document filed Thursday as saying that John Pat Banister Sr. obtained 282 new and upgraded phones through fraudulent means as telecommunications service manager at the Metro Nashville Airport Authority.

Banister is accused of having the phones shipped to him between 2015 and 2017, under the pretense that the authority needed them. He's charged with mail fraud.

Thursday's filing indicated he acknowledged guilt. It's unclear whether he has a lawyer.

The stolen phones are part of an ongoing legal battle between the airport board and former authority CEO Rob Wigington, who's suing for wrongful termination. The theft of the phones happened during his tenure.