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Published on Thursday, November 22, 2018

Agent jailed for £250k fraud fails to explain where the money has gone

Former travel agent homeworker Rita Hunter has been handed a prison sentence of four years and eight months for fraud totalling £250,000.

Hunter, 63, was a travel agent for 40 years and according to her defence lawyer had never 'put a foot wrong' before her 'dramatic fall from grace'.

Back in August 2016 she received an 18-month suspended sentence for fraud and was ordered to pay back £51,430.

She was supposed to pay £33,000 in compensation to the Advantage Travel Partnership but after only paying £250 she was jailed for six months in April.

She had admitted using customers' credit and debit card details to make bookings through the agent consortium but had diverted the money into her own bank accounts.

Yesterday she was back in Liverpool Crown Court again to admit nine counts of fraud and to ask for five further frauds to be taken into consideration.

Handing her the stiffer sentence, Judge Anil Murray said Hunter had been 'living a lie' and questioned why she was unable to give any explanation as to how the £250,000 she had accumulated has disappeared.

According to a report in the Liverpool Echo, one of the 'customers' she defrauded was a bereaved dad who handed over his life insurance payout.

The man, who lost £173,799 in the scam, suffered heart problems, which he blamed on the stress she caused.

Another victim lost his business as he couldn't meet his tax bill after Hunter conned him out of around £9,000, said the Liverpool Echo.

In total, Hunter sold holidays to 13 unsuspecting victims through her Liverpool-based company Hunters Travel.

Judge Murray said: "These were really mean offences that have caused no end of suffering to people. A lot of them considered you as a friend."

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