(LONDON) Southwark Crown Court Report: A man who used a travel company to make fraudulent financial claims about fictitious holidays he said had been cancelled after the failure of the travel agents has been convicted #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Dec.10: The scam worked by the company withdrawing cash which was then paid into a customer’s account. The customer then transferred the money back to the company electronically, therefore gaining the evidence of a transaction to submit with a claim.

#AceDailyNews Court Report: Final person convicted in long-running travel fraud investigation: Abdul Patel – 59 (01.05.62) of Bury Street, N9 – who posed as a customer of Star and Key Travel – was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud following the conclusion of a trial on Wednesday, 8 December: Patel will be sentenced at the same court on 19 January 2022: This was the last of three linked trials in relation to the fraud…..

COURT CASE NOTES:

The court heard how Patel claimed to have booked a package holiday to Mauritius that he knew didn’t exist through a company called Star and Key Travel. The holiday was supposed to take place between July and August 2014 but the company went bust in June 2014 – the holiday appeared to have been paid in full prior to the company folding.

After the company ceased trading, Patel submitted a claim through the Air Travel Organisers Licensing (ATOL) scheme administered by the Civil Aviation Authority, which offers protection to customers of travel agents who hold Air Travel Organisers Licences and cannot fulfil their obligations.

However, when the claim was submitted – part of a total of 23 claims totalling £268,766 that were put in following Star and Key Travel’s collapse – suspicions were raised by a number of factors. These included a number of the claim forms being overwritten in pen on top of pencil, the surnames of people travelling all being different, the lack of full contact details for a lot of the claimants, and the lack of contact from the various claimants once their applications had been submitted.

The police were called in and quickly identified the key players in the travel firm; family members Mariam Bhajun and her sons Roshan and Mohun Bhajun. All three have been convicted for their role in running the scam.

It transpired that the Bhajuns – all of Mauritian descent – had created Star and Key Travel with the express purpose of committing fraud. They encouraged friends, family and associates to engage in the scheme and pretend to be their ‘customers’. For example, Abdul Patel was their accountant.

The scam worked by the company withdrawing cash which was then paid into a customer’s account. The customer then transferred the money back to the company electronically, therefore gaining the evidence of a transaction to submit with a claim.

Once the money was back in the Star and Key Travel account the process was repeated and cash was withdrawn from the company and paid into another customer’s account before being again transferred back to the company. This process was repeated on numerous occasions and provided the illusion that 23 very expensive holidays had been paid for in full and created an audit trail to support fraudulent claims against the ATOL scheme.

Once police obtained details of the company’s bank account it was revealed that of the approximately £270,000 paid in, £260,000 had been withdrawn in cash – the vast majority of which could be traced to the various accounts of the people who claimed to have ‘paid for holidays’.

Detective Inspector Richard Ward from Holborn Police Station who led the investigation said:

” This was a complex fraud involving a number of people that was established with the sole purpose of defrauding the Air Travel Trust of significant sums of money.

“The painstaking work that has gone into this investigation cannot be done justice in words. But it is fair to say that thanks to the tenacity, dedication and diligence of my team of detectives and with the support of the Civil Aviation Authority, those who set out to commit this fraud have been held to account.

“In addition to the sentences handed down by the court, confiscation proceedings have taken place to ensure that there is no benefit from this crime and compensation could be paid to the Air Travel Trust for the fraudulent claims that had been paid out before this matter was reported to police.”

At the conclusion of the case the Judge Nicola Howard QC commended both DI Ward and his colleague DC Andrea Gornell for the thorough and fair investigation that was carried out into the fraud.

List of those previously convicted for conspiracy to defraud:

  • Roshan Parsad Bhajun – 51 (21.10.70) of Rathbone Place, W1 – found guilty and sentenced on 09.03.18 to five years’ imprisonment;
  • Patricia Lynch – 62 (06.12.59) of Stainby Road, Tottenham – pleaded guilty and sentenced on 28.08.18 to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for 24 months;
  • Mohun Raj Bhajun – 52 (18.07.69) of Priory Avenue, E17 – found guilty and sentenced on 09.03.18 to five years’ imprisonment; Confiscation order £224,483.28 – paid in full 28.06.2019;
  • Mariam Bibi Bhajun – 73 (20.04.48) of Folkestone Road, E17 – found guilty and sentenced on 09.03.18 to 24 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months; Confiscation order £100,000 from which £48,566 was paid as compensation to the Air Travel Trust. Paid in full 04.07.2019.
  • Da’Vanya Monique Duncan – 33 (05.11.88) of Maya Place, N11 – pleaded guilty and sentenced on 09.03.18 to 24 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months;
  • Sandra Edwards – 58 (03.04.63) of Holly Street, E8 – pleaded guilty and sentenced on 09.03.18 to nine months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months;
  • Swastee Thomas – 48 (11.11.73) of Holbrook Close, EN1 – pleaded guilty and sentenced on 09.03.18 to eight months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months;
  • Claudette Cummings – 59 (29.09.62) of Maya Place, N11 – pleaded guilty and sentenced on 09.03.18 to 20 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months;
  • Malik Hossein Kurrimboccus – 58 (18.10.63) of Glengarry Road, SE22 – found guilty and sentenced on 24.08.18 to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months;
  • Amandine Greneux – 43 (09.10.78) of Rathbone Place, W1 – found guilty and sentenced on 24.08.18 to 24 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months;
  • Tianna Antoinette Regisford – 28 (12.08.93) of Golfe Road, Ilford – found guilty and sentenced on 24.08.18 to 18 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months;
  • Lillieth Edwards – 60 (10.10.61) of Darwin Road, N22 – pleaded guilty and sentenced on 26.02.21 to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months.

#AceNewsDesk report …………..Published: Dec.10: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#fraud, #london, #sentenced, #southwark, #travel