A fraudster who conned holidaymakers in to paying for fake COVID-19 ‘fit to fly’ certificates at the height of the pandemic has been successfully prosecuted by Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service.
Saranjeet Trina Kandola (aged 41) of South View Road, Leamington Spa traded as Travel Test Solutions Ltd, a business that offered PCR tests for holidaymakers costing between £60 and £149 per person.
Kandola, who advertised on social media, visited the homes of customers to take swabs that should then have been tested at a laboratory.
However, no laboratory tests were ever carried out and the COVID ‘free’ certificates issued were worthless.
Warwickshire Trading Standards launched an investigation after some of the trader’s customers became concerned that the certificates they had received were fake.
The certificates provided by the business stated that testing had been carried out by a Coventry based laboratory.
However, the laboratory told Travel Test Solutions Ltd customers who contacted them that they had not conducted any work for the business.
In order to hide her identity Kandola set up both Travel Test Solutions Ltd and a PayPal account (to receive payments from customers) in the name of another person.
Trading Standards Officers were first alerted to Travel Test Solutions Ltd on 21st December 2020 and contacted the business on the same day, leading to the business stopping trading immediately.
Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said:
“It is unbelievable that someone should seek to attempt to scam holidaymakers in this way, leading people to believe that they were COVID-19 free when they could very well have had the virus.”
“I’m delighted that Warwickshire Trading Standards Officers acted quicky to uncover this fraud and prevent other holidaymakers losing out.”
At Coventry Magistrates Court on Wednesday 13th April 2022, Saranjeet Trina Kandola pleaded guilty to five offences contrary to the Fraud Act 2006.
She will be sentenced at Warwick Crown Court at the Warwickshire Justice Centre Justice Centre in Leamington on Wednesday May 11.