Ipswich Magistrates Court
Ipswich Magistrates Court Rob Williams

Travel agent's $75k holiday rip off

A TRAVEL agent who took more than $75,000 from vulnerable pensioners and cheated them of their dream holidays has been remanded in custody to be sentenced.

Lynette Pearl Gampe, 60, owned and operated Your Choice Travel at Boonah and between February and May 2010 took $75,930 in deposits from pensioners wanting to book holidays with her.

Ipswich District Court was told Gampe wouldn't book the holidays, but instead spent the money on herself.

Crown prosecutor Kris Ashen said Gampe had grossly breached her clients' trust and preyed on the vulnerability of pensioners.

Mr Ashen said Gampe should be sentenced to four years jail as she targeted vulnerable pensioners who gave her large amounts of their life savings for dream holidays they never got to go on.

Defence barrister Steve Kissick said Gampe had never set her business up to deliberately steal.

Mr Kissick said Gampe's business had been experiencing financial strain at the time and she wasn't the sort of person who would go out "wandering how to take money off people".

The defence applied for the sentence to be adjourned to obtain a psychological report and personal references for Gampe.

Gampe pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and was remanded in custody to be sentenced before Judge Deborah Richards on August 16. Mr Ashen said the elderly victims had since been reimbursed by The Travel Compensation Fund.

The Travel Compensation Fund receives monetary contributions from all licensed travel agency participants to ensure that adequate reserves are available for the administration of the fund to pay compensation to eligible consumers who have suffered loss.

However, Gampe herself has not repaid any of the money she stole.

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