Thomas William Ingram, a serial fraudster who defrauded train companies out of over £40,000 over a period of five years, has been jailed for two years
The 34-year-old, who comes from Blackpool, pleaded guilty to nine counts of fraud against nine separate train operating companies at Preston Crown Court.
He admitted that, between 2013 to 2018, he had committed a sophisticated and premeditated fraud.
Initially, he took advantage of the chargeback scheme to pay for rail travel using an account that contained no cash.
Then, in 2016, he changed to using the Delay Repay compensation scheme, claiming back cash for journeys that he had never made. To justify his claims, he produced and printed hundreds of fake tickets, sending them to various train companies around the country, claiming compensation.
In total, he defrauded nine separate train operating companies, making claims totalling over £130,000, netting himself around £40,000 in the process. In submitting his claims, he used more than 40 aliases and false addresses.
After a lengthy investigation, British Transport Police (BTP) financial investigators managed to trace the fraudulent pay outs. They were either deposited directly into one of Ingram’s four personal bank accounts, or they went into various PayPal accounts, opened under a variety of names, before being transferred back to Ingram’s own PayPal and bank accounts, from which he then withdrew the funds.
More than £7,300 in cash was seized from his home address when he was arrested, and this was ordered to be paid back to the train operating companies he had defrauded. 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, added: “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.”