Axis fraudster pleads guilty

Travel Daily - - News -

ARTHUR Zacharias, a travel con­sul­tant for­merly con­tracted to Ade­laide travel agency Axis Travel, yes­ter­day pleaded guilty to mul­ti­ple of­fences re­lat­ing to frauds against the busi­ness and its clien­tele.

The long-run­ning case, which saw Zacharias ar­rested three years ago (TD 21 Jul 2016) re­lates to al­le­ga­tions of im­pro­pri­ety un­der what of­fi­cers de­scribed as an “elab­o­rate fraud” in­volv­ing the is­su­ing of fake travel doc­u­ments, in which hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars went astray.

Many Axis Travel pre­mium clients were also left stranded at over­seas air­ports with­out return flight book­ings, with charges against Zacharias in­clud­ing ag­gra­vated de­cep­tion, iden­ti­fi­ca­tion theft and “dis­hon­est deal­ings with doc­u­ments”.

South Aus­tralian Po­lice said there may still be some ne­go­ti­a­tion with Zacharias over sev­eral charges, with the mat­ter to be listed again for hear­ing in Jan 2020.

Axis Travel Cen­tre owner Max Na­jar paid trib­ute to the fo­cused ef­forts of the po­lice along with Gow-Gates In­surance Bro­kers and other pro­fes­sional ad­vi­sors.

“This Zacharias case stained our com­pany rep­u­ta­tion and chal­lenged our busi­ness in­tegrity.

“As soon as we be­came aware of what had tran­spired, we in­sti­gated an im­me­di­ate res­cue plan for our bona fide clients to en­sure that there was no in­ter­rup­tion to their travel plans.”

Na­jar said in ret­ro­spect this was the right move, min­imis­ing the im­pact on clients and ce­ment­ing Axis Travel’s rep­u­ta­tion.

“Hu­mans who cause fraud, steal iden­ti­ties, con­jure mas­ter­plans to mis­lead clients and cause havoc within any com­pany or in­dus­try should not be tol­er­ated,” he said.

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