Lyne Barlow (left) leaving Durham Crown Court today after she admitted conning customers (Picture: PA)
A travel agent has admitted scamming hundreds of customers who thought they had bought holidays from her but never received them.
Lyne Barlow, 39, was investigated by police after victims came forward in 2020 – with so many affected that a support group for updates on the case was even set up on Facebook.
She was told today that she faces a ‘long prison sentence’ after admitting stealing £500,000 from one person, 10 counts of fraud and a money laundering charge totalling £1,688,220.
One of the charges said she made false representations by saying she had booked family holidays for paying customers and falsely claimed to be Atol and ABTA registered.
The prosecution claimed Barlow’s offending topped a total of £2.6 million, though the defence will challenge that figure, Durham Crown Court was told.
Tony Davis, defending, said 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, previously of Stanley, County Durham, told some people she has a terminal illness.
Barlow will appear again at Durham Crown Court to be sentenced in December (Picture: NCJ MEDIA)
Judge James Adkin granted her bail but said she will be jailed when he passes sentence on December 12.
He said: ‘It’s prison – and a long prison sentence.’
The court was told that some of Barlow’s victims may wish to read statements during the sentencing hearing, for which half a day was allocated.
Durham Police said previously Barlow’s travel business was no longer operational, and its social media page was taken down shortly after her arrest in September 2020.
The force said ‘several hundred’ people came forward to make allegations against her.
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