A UK travel agent has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison after cheating 13 customers out of nearly half a million dollars.
According to the BBC, Liverpool Crown Court heard Rita Hunter had left a trail of “devastated” customers with “no explanation” as to the whereabouts of their money.
During the swindle, which occurred between 2016 and this year, Ms Hunter had become friends with several of the victims, including a financial advisor who lost £175,000. The court heard Hunter continued to fleece the man even after his wife had died.
In August 2016, the 63-year-old received an 18-month suspended sentence for defrauding two customers. But she was jailed for six months in April this year after only paying back £250 of the £51,430 she was supposed to repay.
As well as activating 12 months of the suspended sentence, Judge Anil Murray sentenced her for three more years and eight months.
"You were living a lie and you were offending then and continued doing so. You were given a chance and carried on acting in the same brazen dishonest way,” Judge Murray said in reference to her earlier conviction.
"These were really mean offences that have caused no end of suffering to people, a lot of whom considered you a friend.
"You lied and lied and lied again to lots of people."
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