Staff, 2022-10-10 11:13:29,
A travel agent has been warned she faces a “long prison sentence” after she admitted defrauding friends, family and hundreds of customers who bought holidays from her in a £2.6 million con.
Lyne Barlow, 39, who previously lived in Stanley, County Durham, was subject of a lengthy police investigation after victims came forward in 2020 to allege they had not received holidays they had paid for.
Appearing at Durham Crown Court, she admitted theft of £500,000 from one person, 10 counts of fraud and a money laundering charge totalling £1,688,220.
She also claimed to be suffering from a terminal illness while she was carrying out the con, the court heard.
Durham Police said after the case that the frauds related to loans, investments and holiday sales.
Her first victims were family and friends and she used their savings before setting up an independent travel agency, in which she fraudulently sold holidays, reporting them to be ATOL and ABTA protected, the force said.
But many of her customers were to find that the holidays they booked through her business were never paid for by her.
A local travel industry source said Barlow would offer deals such as a five star all-inclusive week in Dubai for just £500.
The source said: “She did much untold damage to local travel agents who simply could not compete at the unrealistic prices.
“We tried to tell numerous people it wasn’t right but as some people were…
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