Fraudster sold fake LNER first class tickets - suspended sentence

mikeg

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I've seen someone has been caught selling fake LNER first class tickets and received... a suspended sentence. Now I'm not normally someone who believes in filling up our gaols and am normally quite liberal on crime, taking a pragmatic 'what works' approach but given that he could have easily got several of his passengers in trouble with the law, don't you think the suspension seems a bit lenient?

I wonder what happened to the couple who were stopped with the fake tickets? Were they prosecuted too? How many victims have been created by them being made criminals? One hopes LNER's prosecutions department dropped the cases of those who said where they bought the tickets but I won't hold my breath. I hope they go totally POCA on Sufi's ass myself.

The article is here.
Following a lengthy British Transport Police investigation, a fraudster who made more than £29,000 through the sale of fake train tickets has been sentenced.

Muhammed Sufi of York Lane, Mitcham, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation. He was sentenced to nine months suspended for two years and 100 hours unpaid work .

Sufi had manufactured fake tickets which allowed the holder complimentary first-class travel on LNER, before selling them on eBay. Sufi had opened the eBay account in the name of an LNER employee with addresses in London and Yorkshire.
 
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spyinthesky

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Surely the people buying the tickets are as guilty as any other without a valid ticket.
Unless he has created a valid looking platform to be bought from, but on eBay!!!
 

Deafdoggie

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I would have sympathy with anyone genuinely buying fake tickets. But cheap tickets on eBay, they knew they weren't legit in some way didn't they.
 

ainsworth74

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Unless he has created a valid looking platform to be bought from, but on eBay!!!

Yes I was in agreement with the OP up until the eBay bit. Unless this fraudster had created a very legit looking store page on eBay (after all not everyone is as savvy so if it was very well done it could confuse people into thinking LNER have opened a new retail channel) then I'm far less sympathetic to those who bought their tickets via eBay. I still have some but it's significantly reduced!
 

Haywain

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If you are buying a complimentary ticket through eBay it's difficult to see how you can be surprised when it turns out to be dodgy.
 

John Luxton

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Just cannot see how people fall for things like this. There are two ways to buy a ticket at the station or online at the train operator's web site.
 

alistairlees

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Just cannot see how people fall for things like this. There are two ways to buy a ticket at the station or online at the train operator's web site.
Or online from an independent retailer (or another train operator's website), or via your corporate travel account, or on the train itself (in certain circumstances).
 

John Luxton

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Or online from an independent retailer (or another train operator's website), or via your corporate travel account, or on the train itself (in certain circumstances).
Yes okay - I am a bit traditional and "old school" when it comes to train travel. I wouldn't consider buying on train any different from a ticket office at unstaffed stations. As for other train operator's web site site - personally I would stick to the operator I am using. Less chance for things to go wrong? - Bit traditional and old school hence I would not consider an independent retailer.

I am rather the same when it comes to hotels. Only book direct on a Hotel's own web site. I once did a trip with a friend and he wondered why he paid more for using a third party web site rather than the hotel web site. The receptionist stated that using a third party means we have to pay commission. Presume that is the same with railway travel.
 

deltic

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The sale of advance rail tickets that someone no longer wants was pretty common on Ebay pre-Covid and I doubt many people will think anything of it - as is the sale of unwanted store vouchers and the like - so I cant see people thinking the sale of a complimentary ticket as dodgy.
 

Starmill

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Just cannot see how people fall for things like this. There are two ways to buy a ticket at the station or online at the train operator's web site.
Tickets are for sale from any authorised retailer, only some of which are train companies.

eBay itself doesn't even allow sale of transport tickets as they are mostly non-transferrable, so I'm surprised he wasn't caught out.
Ebay do not seem at all hot at enforcement. There have been loads of cases of RTVs, Advance tickets, likely used tickets etc. for sale there, for years.

The receptionist stated that using a third party means we have to pay commission. Presume that is the same with railway travel.
Commission for the sale will be paid to whomever sold the ticket, but third party authorised retailers of train tickets specifically aren't permitted to increase ticket prices. They must use the fares set by the relevant train companies.

Surely the people buying the tickets are as guilty as any other without a valid ticket.
They may or may not be guilty of avoiding payment of fare. They are very unlikely to be guilty of fraud by false representation.

Simply passing the custody threshold does not mean necessarily that a community order is inappropriate.

A few points on Community Orders from the Sentencing Council that may be of use here:

  • A suspended sentence MUST NOT be imposed as a more severe form of community order. A suspended sentence is a custodial sentence.

  • Community orders can fulfil all of the purposes of sentencing. In particular, they can have the effect of restricting the offender’s liberty while providing punishment in the community, rehabilitation for the offender, and/or ensuring that the offender engages in reparative activities.

  • A community order must not be imposed unless the offence is ‘serious enough to warrant such a sentence’. Where an offender is being sentenced for a non-imprisonable offence, there is no power to make a community order.

  • Sentencers must consider all available disposals at the time of sentence; even where the threshold for a community sentence has been passed, a fine or discharge may be an appropriate penalty. In particular, a Band D fine may be an appropriate alternative to a community order.
 
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LowLevel

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Regarding the purchasers, on various occasions I've had BTP out to people with fake e-tickets - they definitely turn out in force for it but from what I can see provided the person in question cooperates with them in terms of providing the purchasing information etc they don't treat them as criminals themselves, mostly getting a ticking off instead regarding being naive about what is really "a good deal".
 

WesternLancer

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Regarding the purchasers, on various occasions I've had BTP out to people with fake e-tickets - they definitely turn out in force for it but from what I can see provided the person in question cooperates with them in terms of providing the purchasing information etc they don't treat them as criminals themselves, mostly getting a ticking off instead regarding being naive about what is really "a good deal".
Thanks for insight. Do they get asked to buy a valid ticket?
 

LowLevel

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Thanks for insight. Do they get asked to buy a valid ticket?

Not sure really - certainly once I've gone down the route of reporting a ticketing offence I don't sell a ticket for the journey myself. I've done ticket irregularity reports with zero fare excesses and never heard back from the prosecution team over it so it may be that if they're cooperative they decide to leave it at that with a telling off.

Most of the cases I've come across have been daft students trying to save a few quid buying tickets off Facebook groups and so on.

Very rarely you come across people who clearly know what they're doing but that's more unusual. County lines drugs couriers more often than not and relying on people not bothering to scan the ticket but just glance at it.
 

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