Agent faces ‘long prison sentence’ after admitting fraud and money laundering

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By Lisa James
11/10/2022
Home » Agent faces ‘long prison sentence’ after admitting fraud and money laundering

Travel agent Lyne Barlow has been told to expect a ‘long prison sentence’ after admitting charges of fraud, theft and money laundering, in a scam that the prosecution says totalled more than £2.6m.

Barlow, 39, pleaded guilty to stealing £500,000 from one person, 10 counts of fraud and a money laundering charge totalling £1,688,220, when she appeared at Durham Crown Court on Monday.

She was granted bail but was told by Judge James Adkin that she will be jailed when she is sentenced on 12 December.

In court, he told her: “It’s prison – and a long prison sentence.”

Police began investigating complaints about Barlow, previously of Stanley, County Durham, in 2020.

The force said ‘several hundred’ people came forward to make allegations about her. One of the charges said she falsely claimed to be ATOL and ABTA registered.

Her agency was shut down during the investigation.

The prosecution claimed Barlow’s offending topped a total of £2.6 million, though the defence will challenge that figure, the Northern Echo reports.

Tony Davis, defending, told the court that some customers received their holidays and suffered no loss.

He asked the court to allow a psychiatric report to be prepared and referred to the fact Barlow told some people she has a terminal illness.

Half a day has been allocated for the sentence hearing to allow for some of Barlow’s victims to read impact statements.

Durham Constabulary said the case was one of the biggest fraud cases it has dealt with.

Detective Sergeant Alan Meehan, of Durham Constabulary’s Economic Fraud Unit, said: “I would like to thank everyone who came forward for their patience and understanding while we carried out a thorough investigation.

“Fraud is an horrendous crime, with such far-reaching consequences for its victims.

“So many people have been affected by her actions, lives have been changed forever and some are still feeling the effects today.”

Members of the public who were scammed by Barlow have welcomed news she will go to prison, with one say she had ‘conned decent people who worked hard for their money out of a holiday’.

Another said: “A big thank you to the person who named and shamed her. If not she could be still out there, ripping people off like she did to me.”

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