A British travel agent has been jailed for 21 months after cheating customers out of thousands of pounds.
Chetan Pal Panesar used his business, E-tickets Worldwide Limited, located in Handsworth, Birmingham, to trick his clients out of £32,000 ($60,305), according to BBC News.
Panesar neglected to book flights for 18 people, which Judge Kristina Montgomery QC said in court that “went into your business and ultimately your pocket.”
“It was significant deprivation,” she said, according to BBC News.
Many customers had to pay in cash instalments over a period of months.
“These were the sort of people who would scrimp and save to visit relatives,” Montgomery said.
Panesar repeatedly lied to his victims, according to Montgomery, including lying about being a member of several travel bodies and blaming airlines for tickets not arriving.
BBC News reported 18 people came forward to trading standards, but others who were affected had previously approached the media outlet.
One of Panesar’s clients, Carlton Thomas said he saved £5,000 ($9,422) through his cleaning job for a family trip to Jamaica which was never booked.
Another of his clients said she and her daughter turned up at Gatwick airport on Christmas Eve to find out their flights to New York were also not booked.
Panesar had previously pleaded guilty to fraudulent business carried out of fraudulent purpose.
The head of Birmingham Trading Standards said the organisation was seeking compensation for Panesar’s victims.