Although not everyone uses them anymore, travel agents and travel companies are still popular services. This is especially true when friends and family members have someone that works at a travel agency who claims that they can get them cheap holidays. Of course, people would not usually think that their own friends and family members would stiff them. Unfortunately, that is just what happened after a travel worker tricked her loved ones into paying over £16,000 for holidays and then never booking them.
The travel consultant was Amanda Stewart, age 26 and a mother of two. She worked for Barrhead Travel as a marketing assistant. Although she had a lot of power at her job, she did not have the authority to book holidays for people that she knew. Thus, the fact that she told her family and friends that she could get them cheap holidays was a flat out lie.
Just this last week, Stewart was ordered to appear at Paisley Sheriff Court. It was here that she admitted to 11 counts of fraud. What made the crime so unbelievable is that she took money from 11 different friends and family members during an 11-month period.
Reports that the court heard showed that Stewart had completely ruined these people’s holidays. In one such case, a wife and husband did not find out that their holiday was not booked until they arrived at an airport. Instead of being able to start their holiday, they found out the hard way that Stewart never booked it in the first place.
Due to the fact that she admitted to the fraud, and since she has kids, she will not have to serve any jail time. Instead, the mother-of-two was sentenced to do nearly 200 hours of community service. Despite how it sounds, however, Stewart may not have been trying to stiff her family and friends after all.
Tony Callahan, Stewart’s lawyer, said that she had booked many holidays for her family and friends. She was later asked to book a trip for her cousin and a friend, but some of the party members were not able to pay the deposits. Instead of cancelling the trip, she used the cash that she received from another person to book their holiday. What ended up happening is that she created a chain reaction of using other people’s money to pay for other holidays.
Thankfully, most of the people who fell victim to this odd string of crimes have been reimbursed by Barrhead Travel. The company also explained what happened to them. Unfortunately for Stewart, she has been let go from her job at the company.