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Travel industry news

03 Jun 2019

BY Rob Gill

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Charity fraudster spent £77,000 on cruises and holidays

A charity treasurer has been jailed as part of a Gift Aid scam, which saw him spend nearly £77,000 on cruises and other holidays with one travel firm.

Cruise ship ocean sunset

Dale Hicks, from Stoke-on-Trent, used his position as treasurer of Life Keys charity to steal more than £330,000 in the Gift Aid repayment scam.

 

Hicks’ spending spree with this stolen money included £76,872 with a single travel company, as well as further payments made directly to airlines and cruise companies.

 

A HMRC investigation into Hicks’ activities found that he had spent £24,854 on one cruise when he booked himself and seven other people into the ship’s presidential suite. He then posted about the trip on social media including videos of the suite and meals at the captain’s table.

 

Hicks also spent nearly £6,000 on a tour to China and splashed out £1,500 for a stay at Center Parcs.

 

Hicks admitted one charge of fraud by false representation, as well as two charges of using a false instrument, during a hearing at Stoke-on-Trent crown court. He was sentenced to three years in jail.

 

Nick Stone, assistant director, fraud investigation service, for HMRC, said: “This was not a momentary lapse. This was persistent, it was calculated and it was despicable.

 

"He betrayed the trust of colleagues at a genuine charity that was trying to help criminals turn their lives around.

 

“Hicks spent this stolen money on himself and booked a string of luxury holidays that most hard-working people could only dream of. The taxpayer paid for these extravagant holidays, and he posted about them on social media.”

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