Holiday fraud couple jailed for fake illness scam

Holiday fraud couple jailed for fake illness scam

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Introduction and Facts 

It was the perfect crime. Or, at least, it appeared to be – go on holiday and then, when safely home, make a fake claim for ‘illness’ suffered whilst you were away.

It’s been in the news a lot recently, with the insurance companies believing that they are getting diddled by a lot of people who are trying this particular scam.

Many people see it, like a bit of insurance or expenses fraud here and there, as a bit of a harmless way of getting some spare cash, but there are, of course, consequences, as the premiums for all the other honest people go up.

So it was that Paul Roberts, and his partner Deborah Briton, found themselves unwelcomingly thrust into the limelight when they were both sent to prison on 13th October 2017 for just such a scam.

In 2015 and 2016 they both went off on holiday to Mallorca and seemingly had a lovely time. However, they were later to try to sue the travel company on the grounds that they (and their two children) had suffered gastric illness.

Just as the first rule of carrying a baseball bat, if you’re a heavy, is to make sure you always have a baseball and glove, the first rule of carrying out such a fraud is not to post the evidence that brings you down on social media.

On both occasions, there were Facebook postings after the holiday that suggested that the couple had had a great time, with no hint of any illness, gastric or otherwise.

It is not clear exactly how the fraud was detected, but it seems to have been pretty quickly after the pre-action letter was sent to the insurance company. Both pleaded guilty.

 

Sentence 

The Judge was damning; the claims ““were bogus from start to finish, you were both asserting on your behalfs and on behalf of your two children that on two separate holidays you had suffered illness. They were totally and utterly fake …

Those who may be tempted in the future to make a dishonest claim in relation to fake holiday sickness, if they are investigated and brought to justice, whatever the circumstances of an individual, he or she must expect to receive an immediate custodial sentence.”

Mr Roberts, who seems to have been the prime mover of the fraud (at least in the sense of devising the scheme following a conversation that he had in a pub) got 15 months, whilst Ms Briton received 9 months. In both cases, these were immediate custody – not suspended.

The starting point would have been the Sentencing Guidelines for Fraud – see page 6 for the relevant sections. Here, the claim was said to be worth about £20,000, which would be the value of the gain to the two.

But the Judge seems to have taken in to account the legal costs that Thomas Cook would have incurred in defending the case, which would have added a further *look away now if you’re a criminal lawyer or you may weep* £28,000.

As the guidelines specifically cover the loss to the victim (rather than just the gain to the defendant), the total value for the purpose of sentence would be £48,000. Even though this was not incurred, it was an ‘intended’ part of the loss, at least in the sense of being foreseeably an inevitable consequence.

Either way, it is a Category 3 Harm, but as the range is £20,000-£100,000, this difference is significance.

As to culpability, it is hard to see that it actually has any of the High Culpability features, and so we would suggest that it is a 3B offence.

The starting point is based on a value of £50,000, (so pretty much the figure here) and is 18 months, with a range of 6 months to 3 years.

 

Comment

The actual length of the sentences are pretty much what we expect given the guidelines. It’s not exactly clear when the pleas of guilty were entered, but there is nothing to suggest that the appropriate credit was not given.

In a case like this, you would often expect a suspended sentence.  As said, it is a bit of a ‘hot topic’ though, and we can suspect that there is a deterrent element to the sentence imposed, as the Judge set out. The other point, of course, is that we don’t know what, if anything, either of them have by way of previous convictions. But it may be that these two are unfortunate in that they are one of the first to be prosecuted for this offending and so are more newsworthy, with the Judge feeling the need to send a clear message that this behaviour is unacceptable and will attract a heavy sentence.

We will have to see if there is an appeal, it is likely that they will try, but in the current climate we would imagine that the Court of Appeal will uphold the sentence (unless, as an act of mercy in all the circumstances or in light of new evidence) the sentence of Ms Briton is suspended. How likely this is may depend on the age of the children, and what is happening to them whilst their parents are in prison.

Whatever the outcome though, it’s a very expensive lesson for them to learn, and hopefully it will have got through to anyone else tempted by such an offence.

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28 COMMENTS

  1. It struck me as a bit harsh and from Thomas Cook of all people whose own corporate greed saw them drag out the compensation due to the parents of the two children who died on one of their holidays from carbon monoxide poisoning and no-one from Thomas Cook was hauled into court for it either. The Veil of Incorporation has much to answer for.

  2. I don’t think these two were motivated by the wish to avenge those children. They were just greedy.

    And where does liability stop? Should hotel reservation sites be liable too? People who recommend hotels? People who quit a hotel because they smell gas but don’t dis-recommend the hotel online?

    It’s easy to believe that there must always be somebody within the jurisdiction and solvent or insured who can be held criminally and civilly liable for every sad occurrence but it ain’t necessarily so.

    • I take your point Andrew that this couple were probably motivated by personal gain but I just don’t see where Thomas Cook get to take the moral high ground and in a private prosecution.

  3. I agree with the first comment here. I’d like to see some way of dealing with matters like these via the civil courts or at least with non-custodial sentencing. It does seem unfair that customers end up in jail while some travel companies and insurers, just because they have deep pockets, are able to obfuscate about claims which they know to have merit.

    And although it didn’t appear to have much influence on the sentence passed, it also seems unfair that legal costs of defending the claim (£28k for defending a £20k claim, how on earth!), which may or may not have occurred, are included in the value of the fraud.

  4. A correct and appropriate sentence. While one might cavil about possible legal technicalities, the fact remains that this ‘unfortunate’ couple committed a second deliberate and pre planned fraud against an innocent travel company. Result – higher prices for others, acceptable?, NO.

    The fact that they might have been used by the courts as an example ‘Pour encourage les autres’ is well overdue and will, I have little doubt, have the desired effect of preventing numerous similar frauds in the future.

    They made their bed, now they must lie in it.

    • Still seems unfair though – one law for the travel companies and another for customers. I doubt this sentence will deter much to be honest, and the only result is a lot of taxpayers’ money been spent on custodial sentences.

      And £28k to defend a £20k claim when the defence didn’t even happen – hardly a legal technicality!

  5. Well anon, it is not unfair at all. Whatever happened in the tragic case of the two children may in no way be interpreted as a deliberate act on the part of Thomas Cook to initiate this tragedy, whereas the actions of Paul Roberts and Deborah Briton were not only calculated and deliberate fraudulent, they had the audacity and confidence to effectively flaunt their dishonesty on social media.

    I have, as a result of unfortunate empirical experience, made something of an depth study of appropriate and inappropriate sentencing which, I can assure you, frequently bears little resemblance to the offence committed. To go deeper into this here would take a sequel to War & Peace, although I anticipate more will be heard about this in due course.

    One must bear in mind that only half of the sentence given is actually served, furthermore I would consider it likely that this couple will almost certainly be entitled to HDC, Home Detention Curfew which will find them released at least 4 months before the end of their custodial term.

    This sentence was far from being over the top and courageous of the judge to impose and support with his comments. I more than stand by my observations.

    • Despite what you say I still think the sentence is unfair. I don’t say that Thomas Cook initiated the deaths of the children in the case you refer to and my criticism of the travel and insurance industries are not directed at Thomas Cook in particular. But it is the case that some insurers and travel agencies obfuscate over claims which they know to have merit because they have deeper pockets than their customers. And it is the case that it is unlikely that the staff of travel agents or insurers doing so will receive custodial sentences for doing this. Dishonesty is dishonesty. Best to deal with this type of thing on a civil or non-custodial basis across the board and not treat customers more harshly than their businesses.

      I agree with you in that sentencing often bears little relation to the crime, but probably not in the way that you mean.

  6. OK Anon, you appear to be conflating two entirely separate issues. We all know that both travel companies, insurers and many other types of companies will do everything they can to avoid paying out on a legitimate claim, I have had experience of this myself after having a car broken into in Italy.

    They try to hide behind all sorts of arcane and very carefully worded small print in order to identify any reason not to pay out. However I feel that this in itself, while omnipresent throughout the commercial world, cannot in any way remotely be compared to the numerous dishonest attempts to defraud and scam them faced every day by insurance and other companies.

    Please do not think that I have any bias towards any commerce or industry whatsoever but , lets face it. would you like to pay vast amounts more in insurance premiums because far too many of these attempts became successful?, or find your holiday costing 50% more for the same reason.

    Insurance companies have special departments dedicated to the detection and elimination of fraud which are of course paid for from my premiums and yours. Like yourself I would like to pay far less for my premiums, but not at the expense of finding them ultimately rocketing as a result of scores of unworthy claims being paid because you seem to be of the opinion that insurance and travel companies have deep enough pockets to do so! (Monarch???)

    Taking sensible precautions to protect one’s commercial interests is not dishonest and can in no way be deemed so. Trying to compare the antics of this couple and like minded others is a completely different matter, to even suggest this appears to display an astonishing degree of naivety.

    As we have both accepted dishonesty is dishonesty; this couple deliberately behaved extremely dishonestly simply because they thought that they would get away with it, nothing more nothing less.

    Dishonesty at this level, as I have mentioned ante in earlier posts, unquestionably warranted the custodial sentence given.

    I am pleased that you agree with me that sentencing often bears little relationship to the crime, I would however like you to explain why this is perhaps ‘not in the way that I mean?’. What, in your opinion, do you think I mean?.

    • Where I disagree with you Alex is that you say yourself that insurance and travel companies act dishonestly towards customers making claims. Remember that customers making insurance claims are often in a vulnerable position, having suffered illness, injury or bereavement. You say this dishonesty by insurers and travel companies is very different from customers acting dishonestly. But I say dishonesty is dishonesty, and the only difference is the type of dishonesty involved. I still say that its unfair that customers who act dishonestly are sent to prison and insurance and travel companies who act dishonestly are at the most fined (the companies, not the individuals in the companies acting dishonestly). You don’t propose any punishment for insurance or travel companies who act dishonestly, yet you enthusiastically endorse customers being sent to prison. I think a better punishment for the couple here would be a civil or certainly non-custodial one, perhaps involving a fine payable to the insurance company. Remember that locking people up is hugely expensive and if you are concerned about the cost of insurance premiums due to fraud, you should also bear in mind the cost to the taxpayer of sending people to prison.

      You say that fraud adds 50%to the cost of holidays – is this based on empirical evidence or is the 50% figure for effect? I wouldn’t have thought that fraud costs as much as that.

      You believe me to be possessed of an ‘astonishing degree of naivety’, but you don’t appear to be of the opinion that travel and insurance companies have deep pockets (I don’t know why you refer to Monarch, as you don’t say how that fits into your argument). I don’t suggest that insurance companies should pay out on unworthy claims due to their deep pockets, but I do suggest that they shouldn’t foot-drag, obstruct and delay paying out on legitimate claims because their deep pockets allow them to do so (by the way, insurers do this much more with individual customers than with commercial customers).

      From your comments I took it that you meant that sentencing often bears little relationship to the crime in that you feel that sentencing is often too light. I agreed that sentencing often bears little relationship to the crime but not in the way that you meant, as I feel that sentencing is often too harsh.

  7. Hiya again Anon,

    Firstly please allow me to make one thing perfectly clear. I most certainly did NOT say that insurance and travel companies act dishonestly against customers making claims, as a matter of fact I said precisely the opposite! I further neither said nor implied, as you suggest, that insurance companies have ever acted in any sort of a dishonest manner. In fact I thought that I had made a reasonably good fist of explaining why and how insurance companies respond, perfectly legitimately, to attempts to defraud them and, by extension, the vast majority of their clients who DO NOT try and fiddle them, think about it.

    You appear to have developed some sort of bee in your bonnet that insurance and travel companies are by definition, acting dishonestly. This is patently absolute nonsense. They are both subject to a huge amount of regulation and restriction specifically designed to ensure that they ‘play by the rules’. Any apparent misconduct would be swiftly identified and punished.

    Trying to eliminate fraud is in most peoples’ minds, not only acceptable but highly desirable.

    Let me assure you that having myself spent some considerable time residing with Her Maj., far from enthusiastically endorsing anybody being sent to prison, I am positively working on preventing unnecessary and unreasonable imprisonment for anyone which, I guarantee occurs on far to many occasions for comfort. To digress

    As a matter of fact it is my firm belief that in this country any government of whatever colour, has no intention whatsoever of reducing the current prison population under any circumstances. Without going into any detail I have virtually no doubt that it would be possible to reduce the prison population almost immediately by 15/20% without presenting any danger to the public.

    One does not need a great deal of brain power to realise the huge benefits to be gained by the country by following this course of action. However releasing prisoners is a sure fire way of losing votes. ‘Nuff said. This forum and these posts are not the right place to take this further.

    To return to the case in point. If one were to catch a couple of back editions of claimed and shamed which was a while back on daytime BBC 1, they might notice that fines and suspended sentences were thrown around like confetti for some very serious offences. I cannot recall a single custodial sentence being handed down. Therefore as I have said in an earlier post, it appears clear that the jailing of this couple was clearly designed to send a very clear message that this sort of criminal offence ( I have said CRIMINAL and I MEAN Criminal) will no longer be tolerated, and quite rightly so.

    I might say to anon that I am fully aware of just how much it costs to bang up any individual. Once again this forum is not the place to enlarge upon this.

    My 50% observation was of course for effect. Without having access to vast amounts of data it is nigh on impossible to arrive at any remotely accurate figure. However if, as anon appears to be suggesting, most insurance and travel claims were paid out willy nilly without adequate investigation, seemingly on the basis that travel and insurance companies ‘have deep pockets’ I feel that my theoretical 50% increase in price may well be not that far out!

    As to my reference to Monarch, a very well and long established travel company and airline. it may have escaped anon’s notice that they very recently went bust because they ran out of money to keep operating within regulations. Need I say more?.

    I have absolutely no idea from where anon gleaned the golden nugget of information that insurance companies treat claims from individuals differently to those of commercial origin, perhaps he/she might like to enlighten us.

    To refer to my comments on sentencing. My observation was simply that sentencing frequently bore little resemblance to an offence, this did not imply anything either way.

    Let me assure anon that far too many sentences are vastly too harsh whereas far too many are far too lenient, while some are just about right.

    In the case of this couple the judge got it just about right in my opinion.

    Your serve.

    • You did say that travel and insurance companies act dishonestly against customers – you said they ‘will do everything they can to avoid paying out on a legitimate claim’ and ‘they try to hide behind all sorts of arcane and very carefully worded small print in order to identify any reason not to pay out.’ These actions constitute dishonesty, no?

      Travel and insurance companies routinely drag out paying out on legitimate claims as they have deep pockets and because existing regulation and sanctions act as no deterrent.

      As I say, dishonesty is dishonesty, and I find it unfair that customers are sent to prison for dishonesty while staff of travel companies and insurers who act dishonestly are not.

      I’m not sure why you feel that this forum is not the place to discuss sentencing or the cost of sending people to prison, it seems to me to be the very reason it was set up.

      You did seem enthusiastic about this couple being sent to prison. If you’re aware of the costs of imprisoning people, I’m surprised that you propose it in light of your concern over other costs such as increased insurance premiums.

      I’m not familiar with ‘claimed and shamed’, but even if I was I would not base my views on sentencing adequacy around it, in the same way that I wouldn’t base my views of what happens in court around ‘Judge Judy’.

      You seem to be saying that you have no idea how much premiums would rise if this couple weren’t jailed, just that you think they would go up. I’ll say again, I don’t expect travel and insurance companies to pay out ‘willy nilly’ because of their deep pockets, but I don’t expect them to unreasonably delay or avoid paying out on valid claims because they have deep pockets – there is a difference. I think a 50% increase in premiums due to fraud is fairly far out.

      Sorry, I’m still not clear about Monarch – are you saying that you think they went bust because of fraudulent claims?

      Commercial clients are far bigger than individual ones, and therefore insurers will generally pay out to the former to avoid loss of reputation and future business. The relationship with big commercial clients is much cosier and they don’t really care if they lose the odd individual customer.

      Thanks for clarifying your comments on sentencing.

      Sorry, but you haven’t convinced me – I still feel a custodial sentence was unfair and unequitable here.

    • ” Without going into any detail I have virtually no doubt that it would be possible to reduce the prison population almost immediately by 15/20% without presenting any danger to the public”

      One course of action would be to deport the 12,000 or so (according to the last government figures I saw) foreign nationals in our prison system. A sure fire vote winner in my opinion, but of course we would have to stop the Human Rights lawyers stalling and dragging out the process for decades at tax payers expense.

      • Thank you Captain very Sensible,

        I do hope that @Anon reads your posting. I further hope that he or she finally accepts that however certain he or she is that they cannot be wrong. in my opinion, they are, and at least Captain Sensible has offered a further clear, and I hope acceptable reason why. Thanks Captain S.

        I must agree that the prison population might easily be reduced by at least 10/15% without presenting any danger whatsoever to the public, but not by following the suggestion of Captain S.

        Booting out all foreign prisoners would be a splendid idea, but as Capt S says, this is in fact nigh on impossible, in part for the reasons given.

        For me to address the measures which COULD succeed would, as I believe I have mentioned in an earlier post, require a sequel to War & Peace, so I won’t.

        The truth of the matter is that no government WANTS to reduce the number banged up as this would not chime well with the public which has been ‘educated’ by the media into believing that banging people up is the only way to stop or prevent crime. ergo fewer votes. It isn’t, far from it.

        All politicians who have a brain, at least SOME of them MUST have one, know what the measures are but quite simply, they do not have the balls to implement them.

        I’ll leave it at that, and I hope some of those reading this will devote a little thought to the problem, it more than needs it.

  8. Hello once again Anon.

    By saying that companies will use arcane small print to avoid paying out on legitimate claims, I agree that I could have perhaps chosen my words slightly more carefully. What I meant to convey was the fact that these companies use all their terms and conditions to legitimately seek to refute what might appear, on the face of it , to be a legitimate claim. By doing this it would of course be sailing very close to the wind when it comes to failing to pay out on any claim simply by invoking arcane and obscure small print. However independent organisations such as the Insurance ombudsman and the Citizens Advice Bureau will always examine any refuted claim and challenge this if it feels that the claim has been unfairly refused.

    This is not exactly something which has just materialised from thin air, terms and conditions have been included and used ever since contracts, commercial or private, have existed.

    I have not worked in this industry and have little empirical experience of it, but I am nevertheless confident that the vast majority of legitimate claims ARE paid out without unnecessary delay or obstruction. Perhaps other readers will be in a better position to comment on this than myself or anon.

    I might add that about 5 years ago I had to make a claim on my house insurance for a burst pipe which did considerable damage. My insurance company (A household name) responded magnificently. They immediately did everything they could to help and the whole matter was sorted out to my total satisfaction with the absolute minimum of fuss.

    Since our salvos of postings commenced, I have sounded out a few other people about their personal experiences with travel and insurance companies. I have not, thus far, found a single one who has experienced any sort problem with either.

    I am also waiting to run into a former neighbour now retired, who was for many years the Managing Director of a market leading holiday and travel company to obtain his opinion.

    If one were to look at it objectively, the public are not all stupid. If insurance and travel companies were to treat their clients dishonestly on the grand scale which anon considers to exist, in this age of the internet it would go viral in no time and the unfortunate company would not last very long after it did.

    Anon appears to be getting his or her knickers in a serious twist over his or her completely misguided obsession that all companies have deep pockets and are dishonest while all their clients are paragons of virtue. Anon, this is NOT the case.

    Believe me I am the LAST person to become enthusiastic about sending anyone to prison, but in this case it was the correct penalty. Theirs was a burgeoning field of criminal offences, not a civil offence and therefore has no place in the civil courts irrespective of anon’s bleatings.

    The issue of the cost of banging people up bears no relationship whatsoever to any putative rise in insurance premiums whatever the cause. I do hope the reader is able to figure out for themselves why this is.

    I repeat that if any company in whatever field failed to make every legitimate effort to weed out false claims and just paid out any claim upon receipt of it, even the biggest global conglomerates would soon go bust!.

    Anon’s suggestion that company staff should be imprisoned is, quite frankly, elevating absurdity to outrageous levels.

    Please allow me to clarify my mention of Monarch. Quite simply they were forced into liquidation as a result of running out of money and were unable to continue trading as a result of this. It would seem that their pockets were not sufficiently deep enough. Nothing to do with fraudulent claims, they were a fairly small fish in a very large pond and were unable to compete economically.

    As for Claimed and Shamed, try google or You Tube. To turn to Judge Judy, I must confess that I have never watched it but I have watched Judge Rinder. While I would agree that it is often a little like the Jeremy Kyle show with laughs, he is always spot on legally with his rulings.

    As to anon’s comment about insurers not caring about losing the odd private customer as their relationship with commercial clients is so cosy, you should try and live in the real world.

    As anybody who relies upon clients of any sort to make a living will tell you, ALL clients are valuable, and in an increasingly competitive market one does not discard any client with impunity. After all, today’s small client may well become tomorrows’ big client.

    You are perfectly entitled to consider the custodial sentence unfair whatever your reasons for doing so. I think you are wrong.

    Goodnight,

    Your serve.

    • Ok, you say travel and insurance companies act dishonestly on occasion, then you say you didn’t say it, now you say they don’t. Fair enough.

      It takes time for a disputed claim to be looked at by CAB, Ombudsman, Small Claims Court or whoever, in which time the claimant might give up and may be suffering from trauma and stress. Sometimes companies delay paying out on claims they know to be legitimate as they have deep pockets. That was my point.

      I would also think that the majority of legitimate claims are paid out without unnecessary delay, although I don’t have empirical evidence. That’s not the point though – my concern is legitimate claims which aren’t paid out on time, even if its a minority.

      You mention a claim you made which paid out promptly, and I congratulate you on that. You also conducted a straw poll, and found that all the respondents have had no problems. Yet in a previous comment you told how an insurance company did everything to avoid paying out on a legitimate claim when your car was broken into. So your experiences are to say the least contradictory.

      I’m sure that your retired neighbour from the travel company will be able to make an impartial contribution.

      If you look at the internet you see cases where insurers and travel companies have treated customers badly. They’re still around mostly.

      As you know, I don’t say that all companies have deep pockets and are dishonest, while all customers are paragons of virtue. I do say that everyone should be treated equally by the law.

      I don’t think a custodial sentence was appropriate here, and I would have preferred to see the matter dealt with via a non-custodial or civil penalty.

      Costs of sending people to prison are high and borne by the taxpayer, so need to be taken into account when sending people to jail, particularly by people who are cost conscious.

      As you know, I don’t say that travel and insurance companies should pay out every claim without question, but I do say that they shouldn’t unnecessarily delay paying out on claims they know to be legitimate. I trust you agree.

      I don’t say staff of insurers and travel companies who unnecessarily delay paying out on legitimate claims should be imprisoned, I say that customers shouldn’t be imprisoned where staff aren’t – I’m suggesting no prison in either case. Sorry if this wasn’t clear.

      Ok, so your Monarch example is not relevant to the discussion.

      I think I know all I need to about ‘Claimed and Shamed’ for now, and if your opinion of Judge Rinder and its relevance to legal rulings is as you say, I will leave you alone with it.

      Similarly, if you believe that insurers view individuals in the same way as large commercial clients and don’t care about losing the odd commercial customer, then I can only say that you are wrong and leave you to your opinion.

      So I still think a custodial sentence was unfair and nothing you have said convinces me otherwise.

      I’m sorry if any future replies are delayed or are short, but unfortunately I don’t have the time to engage continued lengthy discussions over this as I feel you aren’t looking to discuss the matter but have become entrenched in your view and as such are just arguing for the sake of it. I don’t think anything I say will see you admit that custodial sentences were the wrong option in this case, and I doubt that anything you say will change my mind, although I am open to it should I see a sufficiently well argued point. I don’t think its helpful for me to keep preparing lengthy replies to what are essentially the same points, some of which are wrong and contradictory and misinterpret my arguments, made over and over.

  9. Here we go again. Anon insists on saying that I said that insurance and travel companies occasionally act unlawfully. I thought that I had made it perfectly clear that I meant no such thing. All I did was to suggest that that sometimes any company may make use of their perfectly lawful terms and conditions in order to investigate and possibly refute a claim. While this action may perhaps be debatable in some cases it is patently not dishonest or unlawful.

    I accept that of course it may well be stressful for a legitimate claimant to find that payment on their particular case may be delayed, but your observation that companies delay paying out on some claims because ‘They have deep pockets’ is frankly bollocks.

    I venture to suggest that the ONLY reason some claims are delayed is because they require perhaps slightly more investigation for numerous reasons than those which are paid out swiftly.

    In fact I would consider that for a company to deliberately delay paying out on any accepted legitimate claim would be somewhat counterproductive. As the claim is going to be paid in any event, to delay doing so is likely to diminish or lose the goodwill generated from paying out swiftly.

    Re my Italian claim, this was a complicated matter which involved a third party who in fact owned the car which was all of 4 days old and sustained considerable damage during the break in. My insurance company had to liaise with his insurance company as well the Italian police. While around 40 years ago now, this as you might imagine took some time (Remember snail mail?) before it was ‘sorted’.

    While I acknowledge it took a considerable time, once it was accepted that both the owner’s claim and my own were legitimate, both claims were paid without cavil.

    One particularly interesting point you TRY to make is this. You suggest that all people are treated equally under the law. This is EXACTLY what happened in THIS situation. For heavens sake, a travel company took a private prosecution out against two suspected fraudsters who were, quite rightly it would seem, found guilty and received appropriate punishment.

    This is PRECISELY what the law is SUPPOSED to do. Thomas Cook behaved in a perfectly lawful and correct manner in initiating the prosecution which led to the criminals being found guilty in a criminal court of law. Their actions were criminal which is WHY it was not held in a civil court, I fail to see what exactly it is that you do not understand about this??.

    You appear to be completely unable to distinguish between a travel company making perfectly lawful use of its terms and conditions to protect both themselves and their honest clients from fraud, and those intent on ripping them off.

    Re my comments on the loss of a client to any company. You clearly DO NOT live in the real world. Ask yourself why all sorts of companies spend astronomical amounts on advertising?, let me tell you. It is to obtain clients and/or to flog products which, when push comes to shove is much the same thing. They do not do this in order to lose any clients, commercial or private to their competition. I stand 100% by what I said in my earlier post.

    You have the temerity to suggest that I have entrenched views!!. Pots and kettles spring immediately to mind.

    If you wish to continue to believe that a non custodial sentence should have been imposed you are perfectly entitled to maintain this opinion to which I do not subscribe, I admire someone who sticks doggedly to their beliefs despite being wrong.

    I suggest that you start a campaign and suggest the banner ‘FREE THE THOMAS COOK TWO’. Marches and letters to your MP will of course be mandatory as will using a crowdfunding website to raise funds for their appeal. The possibilities are endless.

    You must also make sure the public are fully informed of their deliberate fraudulent activity.

    As a matter of fact I was also becoming just a tad pissed off at burning so much midnight oil whilst
    seemingly flagellating a deceased equine by doing so, that I suspect that this might be my last post on this matter.

    It would therefore be interesting to obtain the opinion of others who have read all this guff who are thus far conspicuous by their silence.

    Goodnight

  10. As I said, I’ll be brief, as there’s nothing new here.

    You did say that travel and insurance companies act dishonestly on occasion, even if you’re now trying to backtrack. Its clearly documented in your previous comments.

    I still say that a custodial sentence for the couple seems unfair given that travel and insurance companies often deliberately delay paying out on claims because they have deep pockets and they are not punished in the same way. I’d have like to have seen this couple face a civil or non-custodial sentence as its cheaper for the taxpayer. Nothing you’ve said has convinced me otherwise, and the way in which you argue and contradict yourself makes it doubtful you would be able to.

    I hope that your previous comment was your last, as I think you’re getting too drawn into the conversation – you’ve conducted a straw poll, appear to be involving your neighbours in the discussion, are sending lengthy and increasingly heated comments in the middle of the night and are trying to draw in other people to post comments taking your side. Honestly, when it gets to that stage its best to step back for a while.

  11. Hello once again Anon.

    This will be my last word on this matter. I did not contradict myself and I am not backtracking. I merely said that Insurance, travel and other companies will on occasion use very carefully composed LEGITIMATE (LEGAL) terms and conditions in order to sometimes refute payments. Any refuted payout is open to challenge and appeal. While this is certainly infuriating it is NOT dishonest.

    You may maintain ’til the cows come home that their sentence was unfair based upon the frankly stupid confabulation that the occasional payout might be deliberately delayed because the company has ‘deep pockets’. God only knows where you are finding this stuff?.

    If you are able to explain how their sentence has the remotest connection to imaginary delayed payouts I would be most grateful.

    No company will deliberately delay any legitimate payout for the reasons I have stated, let alone continuing the ridiculous fallacy that the depth of their pockets might be instrumental in justifying this. I repeat — utter and total bollocks!!

    How many times must I repeat that this couple’s actions were CRIMINAL. Crime is tried in a criminal court NOT on the CIVIL circuits, and the penalties, as in this case, ARE occasionally commensurate with offence.

    If the courts were to pay anything other that lip service to the cost, inter alia, of banging people up, this country would be a far better place, both financially and judicially. Please see earlier comments. However in this particular case, again see ante, this sentence was correct. If you continue to believe otherwise. Amen to that.

    I conducted my, albeit very small, straw poll in order to find out what others have experienced in order to deflect any suggestion that I am relying exclusively on my own findings, has anon done this?.

    Of course I am getting drawn into the dialogue, that presumably, is the purpose of this forum. I
    have been doing this in a seemingly hopeless effort to try and get anon to relinquish their idealistic and hopelessly misguided concept of the actions of serial fraudsters, and the effect this might have on the population in general.

    Now that I have finished displaying my overweening pomposity in my certainty that I am right. Let’s see what others, other that anon think. You must be out there somewhere.

    That is my final comment on the matter.

    Goodnight &
    Goodbye.

  12. I’ll be brief again as there is nothing new here.

    I still say that a custodial sentence for the couple seems unfair given that travel and insurance companies often deliberately delay paying out on claims because they have deep pockets and they are not punished in the same way. I’d have like to have seen this couple face a civil or non-custodial sentence as its cheaper for the taxpayer. Nothing you’ve said has convinced me otherwise. Dishonesty is dishonesty.

    You did say that travel and insurance companies acted dishonestly, its there to see in your previous comments and there is no getting away from that.

    You say that your previous comment will be your last on the matter, and I sincerely hope that this is the case, as I think you don’t believe in your own arguments anymore, hence the backtracking on previous opinions, increasingly heated language, straw polls to try and find other people who share your views, and frequent exhortations to other people to comment on here supporting you.

  13. That really was my last word on the subject. Trying to have any sort of rational discussion with a person with your level of inflexibility and repetition is an impossibility.

    I shall return to flagellating my deceased equine, I might get more sense.

  14. That really was my last word on the subject. Trying to have any sort of rational discussion with a person with your level of inflexibility and repetition is an impossibility.

    I shall return to flagellating my deceased equine, I might get more sense.

  15. Ok, good, I think that’s for the best. You’ve now made four comments each purporting to be your final comment on the matter. The same way as you say insurance companies are sometimes dishonest, then you say they’re not, then they are, then they’re not, etc.

    I still think that a custodial sentence for the couple seems unfair given that travel and insurance companies often deliberately delay paying out on claims because they have deep pockets and they are not punished in the same way. I’d have like to have seen this couple face a civil or non-custodial sentence as its cheaper for the taxpayer. Nothing you’ve said has convinced me otherwise. Dishonesty is dishonesty.

  16. How can the Civil Courts deal with a criminal matter? There seems to be a lot of confusion here.

    Anon, please distinguish between the two Courts. In doing so you will be more clear and your argument will fall away.

  17. I have now made five.

    While I hate to do this, I feel that I have little choice.

    THIS IS A RECORDING!!!!! by Mr or Ms Anon.

    While I am at it I would like to add a particular legal dictum which has been around literally for centuries. I intended to include this earlier but I forgot.

    FRAUUS OMNIA CORRUMPITT. No it does not mean all German housewives are up for it,

    it means FRAUD CORRUPTS OR UNDERMINES EVERYTHING.

    Get the message?.

    • I still think that a custodial sentence for the couple seems unfair given that travel and insurance companies often deliberately delay paying out on claims because they have deep pockets and they are not punished in the same way. I’d have like to have seen this couple face a civil or non-custodial sentence as its cheaper for the taxpayer. Nothing you’ve said has convinced me otherwise. Dishonesty is dishonesty.

      • @Anon do you really not understand Alex Hamilton’s point(s) ? He (or she) has made it perfectly clear that when you buy your insurance there are terms and conditions attached. If a claim is made, the insurance company is well within their legal right to validate any claim via investigation if they deem it necessary. Whilst I’m sure there are cases where the company could have or should have paid out sooner, or perhaps refused to pay based on suspicions they had, where a fraud is clear and evidence is available they should prosecute. I accept that you may think the sentences handed down are somewhat unfair based on previous punishments for similar offences.
        Were they made an example of ? Absolutely. Did they deserve to be made an example of ? Absolutely. Their behaviour costs me and ever other holiday maker a premium.

        However it surely cannot have escaped your notice that virtually every news and media outlet had coverage earlier this year, of the massive and growing problem of holiday insurance fraud and the fact that some overseas hotel chains (not insurance companies) were to stop accepting British holiday makers on the basis of fraudulent claims ? Yet it seems dumb and dumber still tried to fiddle. FFS !!!

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