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