A London-based travel agent has been sentenced to 27 months in prison after defrauding her employer of up to £140,000.
Neolita Ortega, 37, worked as a travel consultant at Gifto Travels in Camden, North London. Her employers approached the police when clients claimed to have been given fake flight tickets.
Following a two-year investigation by police, it emerged that Ortega had stolen between £110,000 and £140,000 by taking cash or credit card payments from customers and depositing them into her own bank account.
Ortega admitted the offence when she appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court on May 18. However, she pleaded guilty on the basis that she had stolen only around £15,000. She later admitted the full offence.
Sentencing Ortega to 27 months in prison, Judge Marron said: "You were a trusted and well-treated employee. Yet you committed a carefully planned and well organised fraud against your employers, over a period of about four years.
"It was an appalling breach of their trust. You personally gained between £110,000 and £140,000 for yourself. But the loss to the company was very substantially greater. That loss was quantified as over £250,000.
"That is only the financial side to it, and ignores the loss to the company’s goodwill and the drop-off in repeat custom. It is fair to say that the company was put in extreme peril."
He added: "An aggravating feature of this fraud is that, even when it had been revealed and was being looked into, you continued to plunder the company’s coffers.
"I give you credit for your plea, on May 18, and I do not ignore the fact you have a child, but your basis of plea...demonstrated a lack of realism and a lack of remorse."
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