British travel agent in Spain avoids jail after admitting misappropriating £280,000  

Agent plea bargain
By Lisa James
Home » British travel agent in Spain avoids jail after admitting misappropriating £280,000  

A British woman who runs a travel agency in Spain has avoided prison after admitting she misappropriated nearly €325,000 (£280,000) of airlines’ money.

Nicola (Nicky) Roberts, 60, who runs Ticket Agencia de Viajes (Ticket Travel Agency) in Portals Nous, Majorca, held back payments to airlines just before COVID because she wanted to protect her clients’ money in case of flight cancellations.

Nicky, who is known locally as Nicky Ticket, had been warned she could face 18 months in prison if she went to trial and was found guilty.

In a plea bargain deal at a pre-trial hearing yesterday in Palma, she was given an 11-month suspended sentence after admitting failing to pass on money to the airlines.

The court acknowledged she has now paid back all of the money, which she held back from airlines including British Airways and Lufthansa between December 2019 and January 2020.

Nicky told the Daily Mail she informed the airlines she intended to hold back payment of invoices just before COVID when carriers began cancelling flights.

She said: “I paid the airlines late and showed them what I’d paid them and what I’d paid the clients because I refunded the clients myself, for flights they couldn’t take, for flights that were cancelled, different flights to get clients back home and so on.”

She said the reason the investigation had dragged on was because the parties were arguing about how much interest she owed the airlines over late payment. Yesterday’s court case agreed she owes €10,500 (£8,550) interest.

“The airlines have recognised I paid them back and that I refunded the clients but their argument was that I shouldn’t have refunded clients myself and should have paid them first.

“I know that way the clients wouldn’t have got the money.”

She added: “Have the airlines got their money? Yes. Have my clients got their refunds? Yes. Everyone’s happy. In 25 years have I not ever paid the airlines? No.

“I know I’ve admitted to a charge of misappropriation but all I did was delay paying a bill. I was worried about my own business going under and what was going to happen to my clients’ money with the onset of COVID.

“It’s just such a shame that our reputation as a travel agency has been dragged over the coals. We’re still very much open and very busy and I hope we don’t suffer because of it.

“We’re still working with the airlines and I’m looking forward to putting all this behind me.”

As part of her plea bargain deal, Nicky must also pay legal costs and a small fine.

Here she is interviewed by the Majorca Daily Bulletin:

Image taken from Majorcan Daily Bulletin YouTube video

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