The independent London newspaper

£90k holiday money fraudster jailed

Nearly £100,000 swindled out of customers to pay for drugs and gambling

15 November, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

Wayne Watkins has been sentenced to 28 months in prison

A FRAUDSTER has been jailed after swindling 76 people out of £90,000 holiday money.

Wayne Watkins, 47, was sentenced to 28 months in prison for fraud by false representation. He had taken over his father’s business Camden FX, also known as Camden Tourist Information Centre, last year.

Judge Sarah Munro QC said in her sentencing that the victims included a man whose funds were going to be spent on a holiday for his wife after treatment for cancer, and a couple who were going on their honeymoon.

The Old Bailey also heard on Thursday about one family who had been lent the money by a terminally-ill parent for their dream holiday. The judge said the victims’ impact statements made for “tragic reading” and that they suffered considerable distress and anxiety. The Met Police said Camden FX offered a service where customers would make a transfer to the company bank account in pounds.

A courier would then deliver their chosen foreign currency. The force said the company had been run efficiently and success­fully by his father, but Mr Watkins suffered with a number of addictions and within two weeks in June 2018 he withdrew large amounts of customers’ money for alcohol, gambling and drug use.

He did not contact the customers whose money he had spent and failed to provide the foreign cur­rency they had ordered. Mr Watkins initially pleaded not guilty, but subsequently admitted the offences before the case went to trial.

Judge Munro QC said in her sentencing notes that his addictions provided an explanation but not an excuse and said he had made an effort to combat these since his arrest.

Detective Constable Simon Ardeman said: “Dozens of people were defrauded by Watkins. I hope that this sentence gives the victims, who endured considerable financial loss, stress and inconvenience, a sense of justice.”

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