Travel agent denies intending to deceive customers

| 18/05/2016 | 0 Comments
Cayman News Service

Sea2Sky door

(CNS): A woman facing a list of deception charges after several customers who purchased flights from her travel agency were unable to fly has denied any intention to deceive them but admitted that her business was struggling. Ingrid Scott (44) told a jury that Sea2Sky Travel had cash flow problems but she had always planned to purchase the tickets. However, when the business was forced to close, she didn’t get the chance to make good on the tickets people had bought.

“I didn’t deceive anyone. I was just trying to keep my business going,” Scott said under cross-examination when she took the witness stand Tuesday. She said the cash flow problems related to the fact that she was offering some customers credit because they were struggling to pay, and so she would buy tickets at the last minute. She told the court she was trying to be kind and would use her discretion to give credit but she admitted it was a struggle to get the money.

“It was just a business decision,” she said.

Scott explained that she would make the reservation for the customers and then tickets would be bought as close to the date as possible to help the cash flow shortfall. She said that, as a travel agent, she could reserve seats on airlines and wait until the day before travel to actually purchase them. She said that was how she managed the business in order to keep it afloat as she tried to collect on the debts but all of the money taken in was still used to pay for airline tickets.

Scott denied that her failure to buy tickets for more than sixteen customers was intentional. She said that when the business closed, she was barred from the office after her business partner changed the locks and that meant she could not buy the outstanding tickets that were due.

The court heard how Scott had taken out a substantial loan to help keep the business going as a result of the cash flow problems caused by the credit system the agency was offering. She said that at one point, she took out a $125,000 loan against her own home to pump into the business to keep it afloat.

She said that in the two years that Sea2Sky was operating she did not get a proper salary, and despite working long hours and weekends, she did not take any money from the business in compensation for the work and was being supported by her boyfriend.

Scott was originally charged with stealing more than $25,000 from over two dozen customers of Sea2Sky, where she was a 49% partner with Thelma Sully, who has not been charged.

On Tuesday the judge told the jury that they would be asked to return not guilty verdicts on nine of the original counts of obtaining cash by deception.

The case continues.

Agent accused of stealing traveller’s cash

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Category: Courts, Crime

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