Published: 06:00, 22 September 2021
| Updated: 14:36, 22 September 2021
A holiday company - conned into booking a Greek holiday for a family of four - is hoping to finally get its money back.
Fraudster Sonny Mileham used someone else’s credit card to pay nearly £5,000 for a week-long trip to Crete in October 2017.
An employee at Travel Vogue in The Parade, Meopham, had been put under pressure by the crook to OK the trip quickly.
Prosecutor Lucy McGarr told Maidstone Crown Court that Mileham - who claims to have been an unpaid former NHS First Responder - only admitted the fraud by false representations in September this year, after receiving an indication of the sentence.
She told how on October 19, 2017 he called Travel Vogue, giving the name Sonny with the names of the other travellers and two email addresses, one in someone else’s name.
Ms McGarr added: “He used a credit card number and security number and the assistant admitted she should have waited for the money to be cleared but he hurried her along on the premise that the holiday was only three days away and he didn’t want the cost to go up.
“She said that the man was very convincing and it was only the following days that it was discovered the address he gave was a business address where he was not known.”
Mileham, 45, of Basildon, has now landed a £60,000 job as general manager, running a second-hand car business in Wickford, Essex.
Karl Volz, defending, said Mileham, who has a previous conviction for theft, had suffered from long Covid but he “will be able to pay in full the loss to the travel company”.
Judge Catherine Moore told him: “You and those with you went on that expensive holiday to Greece but you knew full well that when you booked you didn’t do it legitimately. It was done plainly for your own selfish needs.
“This was a small business and the impact must have been great - and they have not been compensated yet.”
Mileham was given a 16-week jail term suspended for 15 months and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work for the community.
"This was a small business and the impact must have been great - and they have not been compensated yet...”
Andrew Baker, director of Travel Vogue, said he was relieved it was all over.
Speaking after sentencing he said: “I’m pleased with the outcome. We were hoping for a custodial sentence but we are glad it is over.
“The fraud happened a few years ago and it does hang over you.
“The victim in all of this, the staff member who served him, has had it hanging over her for four years and it has been a traumatic time for her. She was nervous about going to court.”
Mileham has been ordered to repay the firm £500 a month.
Mr Baker added: “People think that credit card fraud is a victimless crime but it is not. We are only a small business. We’ll see if he pays it back.”
He added: “I have nothing but praise for the police. The service from Kent Police and and the witness care unit has been exemplary.
“They kept us up to date at every stage. The investigation was carried out in the most professional manner.
“He was caught because nowadays you have to provide your passport details when booking so when he used that passport again going on another holiday, not booked through us, it was picked up.
“He was arrested at the airport with his family.”