The holidaymakers and trade bodies who lost out to a gang of fraudsters are to be awarded compensation.
The 150 consumers who booked the non-existent holidays will be the first group to be compensated to the tune of around £150,000. The remaining money will be split pro rata between the other claimants, which include ABTA, the Civil Aviation Authority and credit card companies.
The fraudsters have each been instructed to pay back the assets they accumulated by fraudulent means. The ringleader of the gang Christakis Philippou – the only defendant to contest the value of his assets – was ordered to pay £4 million yesterday at Southwark Crown Court.
If they fail to pay back the assets, the group will face more time in prison.
ABTA head of finance Mike Monk said he was pleased with the result. He said: “I am very grateful to the judge for compensating the victims. This is a good result in that the fraudsters were convicted and their assets will be recovered.
“This sends out the message to fraudsters that they will face prison and have their assets seized. Now it is onward and upwards as there are still others out there.”
Philippou, Evangelia Liogka, Timothy Entwisle and Peter Kemp were found guilty of conspiring to defraud thousands of holidaymakers in February last year. They set up a string of bogus travel agencies, where they sold cut price holidays before disappearing with the money.
Read more on travel fraud at travelweekly.co.uk/fraud
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