A serial fraudster from Lancashire who scammed £40,000 from train companies through delay compensation schemes has been jailed for two years, following a lengthy investigation.
Thomas William Ingram, aged 34, of Fairfield Road, Blackpool, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to nine counts of Fraud against nine separate train operating companies. He was sentenced on Thursday, 19 March, at Preston Crown Court.
The court heard how, over a period of five years, from 2013 to 2018 Ingram had committed a sophisticated and pre meditated fraud. Firstly via the chargeback scheme, to pay for rail travel using an account that contained no cash.
Then in 2016, he then turned to using the Delay Repay compensation scheme to claim back cash for journeys that he had never made. He produced and printed hundreds of fake tickets from his home address, which he then made claims on, to various train companies, spanning the length and breadth of the country.
His scam targeted nine separate train operating companies, illegally making more than £40,000 after making claims totalling more than £130,000. He submitted hundreds of claims over a prolonged period using more than 40 aliases and false addresses.
BTP financial investigators managed to trace the fraudulent pay outs, that were either deposited into Ingram’s four personal bank accounts, or into the various, newly created, alias PayPal accounts, before being transferred back to Ingram’s own PayPal and bank accounts, where he then withdrew the funds.
More than £7,300 in cash was seized from his home address when he was arrested and was ordered to be paid back to the train operating companies he had defrauded.
The reimbursements for rail journeys he never made allowed him to fund multiple trips to Las Vegas, British Transport Police said.
After sentencing the judge commended the case brought before the court.
A number of printers, laptops and other items used in the commission of the offences were also seized, to be sold to pay more compensation.
BTP financial investigator Gary Francis said: “The delay repay scheme makes it easier for passengers to claim compensation when their journey is delayed. Unfortunately, Ingram targeted the scheme over a five-year period to fund his lifestyle, which included multiple trips to Las Vegas.
“This case is testament to the partnership working between BTP and train operating companies and serves as a warning to others that this type of fraudulent activity will be treated seriously and result in prosecution.”
BTP investigating officer, DS Paddy Kerr, said: “Scams like these don’t just affect train operating companies but also the passengers that use them.
“The Delay Repay compensation scheme was put in place to compensate honest fare-paying members of the travelling public who have genuinely been inconvenienced by delayed trains.
“This isn’t a victimless crime – it is not right that someone should use dishonest means to steal from legitimate companies to fund a lavish lifestyle while impacting on the costs of rail fares for honest, paying passengers.”
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