TravelTek

Published on Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Travel agent jailed for fraud




A travel agent has been jailed for fraud after using £26,000 of a customer's savings as a cash cow.

According to a MailOnline report, Sufiya Esa and her family wept in Snaresbrook Crown Court as she was handed a two-year sentence.

The court heard that the 41-year-old agent, from West Ham, had used the savings of customer Iqbel Salah to pay for other customers' flight and hotel bookings because she had already spent the money which should have paid for their trips.

Mr Salah had used Esa's travel agency to book a trip for treatment for his sick daughter.

He gave over his card details but was told his card had been declined, prompting him to hand over new card details.

In total, Esa ended up going through 11 of his credit cards and used £26,000 of his money to fund her company's backlog of bookings.

The prosecution said when Esa was interviewed in July 2016, she said it was bad business practise 'but not fraud'.

In her defence, lawyer Ranjeet Dulay said Esa is 'clearly not a good businesswoman' and that the fraud arose from an attempt to save face.

Esa admitted eight charges of frauds and had 14 other frauds and attempted frauds taken into consideration, amounting to £17,000.

Judge Nicholas Sanders said: "This was quite clearly an abuse of your position of trust and reasonable members of public provided you with their card details for the specific purpose to buy their flights. You used them to acquire flights for other people. There was considerable effect on the victim."

He said he had no choice but to give a prison sentence as Esa was given a suspended sentence back in 2010 when she had used a similar scam to get £13,000 from another travel agent to keep her former business going.


 

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