Indian-origin travel agent jailed for 20 weeks in Singapore over SGD 35,000 fraud

A 55-year-old Indian-origin woman has been sentenced to 20 weeks in prison in Singapore for misappropriating SGD 35,000 of customers on the pretext of giving them tour packages to India and Dubai.

An Indian-origin woman, who worked as a travel agent in Singapore, was on Tuesday sentenced to 20 weeks in prison for misappropriating 35,000 Singapore dollars (SGD) from customers who paid her for tour packages to India and Dubai.

Earlier this year, Leelavadi pleaded guilty to one criminal breach of trust charge and two counts of practising as a travel agent without a licence from the Singapore Tourism Board. Seven other similar charges were taken into consideration for sentencing, the report said.

According to the report, Leelavadi started working as a freelance travel agent sometime in 2000 and joined a licensed travel agency in 2004. Later, she started an unregistered agency of her own where she told customers that she booked tours to India and Dubai. She advised them on how to travel there, where to stay and their itinerary, and gave them a quotation for their desired tour.

As an initial payment, Leelavadi’s customers paid her SGD 500 which she said was necessary to make the relevant bookings. In the months before the departure date, she would chase them for the balance payments while sending them itineraries and advising them on various aspects of their trips, such as insurance, currency exchange and local tours, the report said.

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