Jailed: ‘Walter Mitty’ con­man spent £40k on lav­ish hol­i­days

Western Mail - - NEWS - JA­SON EVANS Re­porter ja­[email protected]­line.co.uk

AFANTASIST who boasted of a celebrity lifestyle and his con­nec­tions to counter-ter­ror­ism and the mil­i­tary went on ex­trav­a­gant hol­i­days worth tens of thou­sands of pounds af­ter steal­ing com­puter pass codes from travel agents, a court has heard.

Adam Grif­fiths and a friend flew busi­ness class to Dubai and stayed in the seven-star Burj Al Arab ho­tel on one of his fraud­u­lent free­bies.

Grif­fiths has also claimed to work for “pri­vate mil­i­tary con­trac­tors” fight­ing so-called Is­lamic State.

He said he was in­volved with counter-ter­ror­ism work and had con­nec­tions with Scot­land Yard.

In fact he lived in a coun­cil flat in Swansea.

He also has con­vic­tions for im­per­son­at­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer, and in 2014 claimed to have caught the deadly dis­ease Ebola while trav­el­ling in Africa.

A judge de­scribed the 30-year-old as a “Walter Mitty char­ac­ter” – a ref­er­ence to the James Thurber novel about a man who lives a fan­tasy life.

Swansea Crown Court heard that dur­ing May and June last year Adams was a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor at the Tui travel agents in the city’s Quad­rant shop­ping cen­tre.

Ca­rina Hughes, pros­e­cut­ing, said Grif­fiths be­came known as some­thing of a “time-waster” among staff for boast­ing about his lifestyle of ex­otic hol­i­days, celebrity friends and pri­vate jets, but never book­ing any hol­i­days.

How­ever, dur­ing one such visit he man­aged to get hold of some staff com­puter pass codes, and used them on­line to book al­most £39,500 worth of trips.

He also vis­ited the in­de­pen­dent Swansea travel agents Burgess Travel in June, where he was again able to get hold of pass codes – in this case he ran up a £5,500 bill.

Miss Hughes said that one of the hol­i­days he fraud­u­lently booked in­volved him and a friend tak­ing a “very ex­trav­a­gant” trip, which saw them fly busi­ness class to the ex­clu­sive seven-star Burj Al Arab ho­tel in Dubai.

Grif­fiths would also post pho­to­graphs on so­cial me­dia ap­par­ently show­ing a globe-trot­ter liv­ing a cham­pagne lifestyle.

His travel frauds came to light when the in­voice for the hol­i­day booked with the Burgess code ar­rived at the firm’s Kingsway of­fice – and staff re­alised they had not booked it.

Grif­fiths was ar­rested on Septem­ber 5 and gave a no-com­ment in­ter­view – but po­lice found pho­tos of his hol­i­days on his phone.

Grif­fiths, of Jef­frey’s Court, Pen­lan, Swansea, had pre­vi­ously pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud when he ap­peared in the dock for sen­tenc­ing.

The court heard he had 16 pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions for 28 of­fences.

An­drew Evans, for Grif­fiths, said a psy­chi­a­trist had con­cluded his client was not suf­fer­ing from any di­ag­nos­able psy­chi­atric dis­or­der, but it may be that he had “self-worth” is­sues.

Judge Geraint Wal­ters de­scribed the case as “most un­usual” and “dis­turb­ing”. He said Grif­fiths was “some­thing of a Walter Mitty char­ac­ter”.

Giv­ing the de­fen­dant a 25% dis­count for his guilty pleas, the judge sen­tenced him to a to­tal of two and a half years in prison.

The judge also made a Pro­ceeds of Crime Act or­der against Grif­fiths – the ben­e­fit fig­ure from his wrong­do­ing was stated to be £44,220.90 but he has no avail­able as­sets so a nom­i­nal £1 con­fis­ca­tion or­der was made.

> Adam Grif­fiths boasted of a cham­pagne lifestyle de­spite liv­ing in a coun­cil flat

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