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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 August 2007, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
Jail for eBay holiday con woman
Flood sold holidays on eBay that never materialised
A mother has been jailed for 16 months for scamming nearly 40,000 from would-be holidaymakers through the internet auction site eBay.

Julie Flood, 45, from Sussex Road, Maidstone, Kent, admitted 27 counts of theft at an earlier hearing.

She had promised 19 people fake packages including a stay in New York and a trip to Disneyland, Florida.

Passing sentence at Maidstone Crown Court recorder Simon Blackford said she had "systematically misled" victims.

'Substantial swindle'

He accepted her claims that she did not set out to con people and had made holiday bookings.

But said: "Even if it hadn't started as a scam, and I accept that it did not, by [March 2005] your scheme had become, in effect, a swindle on a substantial scale.

"You were lying to your customers regularly and frequently when it became increasingly clear that you could not honour your obligation to them."

An elderly woman who thought she was purchasing a trip for her daughter was among her victims.

Prosecutor Philip St John-Stevens said one person said "he would never forget the disappointment on his children's faces" when he told them they would not be going to Disneyland - or anywhere on holiday that year.

The court was told her victims had come from far as afield as Merseyside, Yorkshire, Cornwall and Wales.

We worked closely with Kent Police to provide evidence to help secure a prosecution
eBay statement
Maidstone Crown Court was told she had a high eBay rating because she had previously traded handbags on the site.

In June 2006 Flood was given a community order for selling fake handbags.

The judge said costs and compensation in connection with the case would be dealt with at a later date.

Ebay said in a statement following the sentencing: "Maintaining a secure site for our buyers and sellers is eBay's first priority.

"We worked closely with Kent Police to provide evidence to help secure a prosecution, so we are pleased that this partnership approach has led to a successful conviction."

Jailed for selling false holidays on the internet


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