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Former United Airlines attendant sent bomb threats to carrier

(Reuters) - A former United Airlines flight attendant made repeated bomb threats against his former employer, mostly by calling 911 from pay phones, according to a plea agreement reached with federal prosecutors in California.

Prosecutors said that Patrick Cau, who was fired from United two years ago after 16 years with the company, has admitted to making eight separate bomb threats targeting United flights, starting last October and continuing for four months.

He went on to work at American Airlines, a rival company. American, a unit of AMR Corp, said it had dismissed Cau in April, after his name came up on a no-fly list and that the airline had "followed all required security procedures."

The agreement said the threats had caused significant disruptions and cost United $267,912.

In early October, for example, Cau called an internal United number to report a flight from London to Los Angeles would be bombed. In the other incidents, he made similar threats from pay phones in Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas and Seattle, according to the plea agreement.

Cau's lawyer, Craig Charles, declined to discuss the charges but said Cau had grown frustrated with United after bringing sexual harassment charges against a male supervisor. Charles said that Cau believes his dismissal was in retaliation for that complaint.

A United spokeswoman would only say that Cau had been employed by United and otherwise declined comment.

Cau, a Los Angeles resident, will appear in federal court next Monday. He faces a maximum sentence of five years behind bars.

(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Scott Malone and Steve Orlofsky)

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