How badly do people want travel loyalty points? The NBC Bay Area’s investigative unit ran a broadcast yesterday that raises this question.

NBC’s piece tells the story about a points scheme allegedly orchestrated by a department chief in California’s Santa Clara County. The county is now investigating the situation.

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According to the story, the employee allegedly used his personal credit card to pay for his travel expenses as well as the expenses of employees, all of whom are supposed to use a county credit card. In some cases, he would use his credit card to pay their expenses when he was not traveling with them. He’d get reimbursed for the expenses – and allegedly keep the points, the story says.

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According to NBC, the man put more than $55,000 in hotel costs and registration fees on his card since 2008. The county requires people to use the points towards county travel, and county policy clearly bans employee from earning personal travel benefits with public money, the report says.

“The records indicate he has put the travel of at least 30 other employees on his personal card, even for trips to conferences that he didn’t even attend,” the NBC report says.

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