Travel Agents

Aussie travel agent jailed for pilfering $670,000 in client refunds

A Victorian travel agent has got her comeuppance for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in client refunds to support her gambling addiction.

Last month, 58-eight-year-old Annette Roberts pleaded guilty to ripping off customers almost $670,000 by diverting client refunds to her own bank account between April 2018 and September 2020, as well as loading the money on prepaid travel debit cards and putting them in the names of clients, according to ABC News.

Roberts used the refunds to feed a gambling addiction that saw her using pokie machines during her lunch break and gambling online during lockdown.

The mother of two’s actions forced Kay and Bruce Reid, the owners of Travel and Cruise North East in Wangaratta where she had worked, to sell two properties to cover the lost refunds.

You can read more about the agent’s wrongdoings here.

Last week, Roberts was sentenced in the County Court of Victoria to two years and eight months behind bars, with Judge Michael McInerney labelling the agent’s conduct as a “gross breach of trust”.

“She’s exploited a small family business and produced for that family business and its owners an extremely serious impact upon them,” the judge said, according to ABC News.

The government-funded broadcaster reported that Roberts had paid back just under $40,000 of what she had stolen, and has been ordered to spend at least 16 months behind bars before she can apply for parole.


Featured image source: iStock/Luke_Franzen


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