Former Tui senior manager Karen Doyle has been handed a two-year suspended jail sentence after stealing more than £63,000 worth of gift vouchers to pay for her own holidays.
Doyle was sentenced today at Luton Crown Court after pleading guilty to fraud during an earlier hearing this month.
She was sentenced to two years in prison which were suspended meaning she will not serve any time in prison.
A confiscation order was imposed ordering Doyle to pay back what she stole.
She was also ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work and will be issued with an electronic tag and a curfew limiting her movements between 18:00 and 06:00.
The court heard how Doyle, Marella Cruises general manager of supplier management and ancillary revenue, issued gift cards and vouchers to herself from Tui’s head office to pay for holidays for herself and her family.
The fraud was committed between February 2011 to February 2018, in which time £63,945 worth of gift vouchers were stolen.
She was found out after sending an urgent email to Tui’s Swansea office in February this year requesting to cancel a holiday she was due to go on five days later.
Doyle was told she could reschedule and a partial refund which was owed would be issued back to the gift card she had used to pay for it.
This was flagged to her line manager, who was responsible for issuing gift cards, and an internal investigation was launched.
Doyle admitted using Tui gift vouchers to pay for the holiday to her line manager in March and was suspended.
During a later disciplinary hearing she made further admissions of paying for numerous holidays for herself and immediate family members over seven years worth £63,454 at which time Tui contacted the police.
The court heard how Doyle earned £76,000 a year at Tui – a “salary many would dream of”, and was “liked and respected” by many in the travel industry.
Defence barrister Nicola Howard said Doyle had racked up credit card debts of £40,000 which she had kept from her family. She also said Doyle had suffered with obsessive compulsive disorder and was seeking counselling.
Doyle cried in the dock as Judge Richard Foster read out her sentence.
“It’s tragic to see a lady of 49 deemed as good character before the criminal courts on such serious charges,” he said.
“You have obviously worked hard in your career in the travel industry but you have thrown that away and here you are facing a custodial sentence.
He added: “You earned £76,000 a year – a salary many would dream of and still you did not live within your means, causing a loss to Tui of £58,000.”
Doyle, listed under her maiden name, Mitchell, left Tui in May after working for the company for nine years in various senior roles.
A spokeswoman for the company said: “We take any fraudulent activity incredibly seriously and will be seeking to recover the funds. This is a clear warning to anyone considering anything similar and we will not hesitate to take legal action or refer such matters to the relevant authorities.”
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