Axis fraudster pleads guilty
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.