28th April 2022

COVID-19 test fraudster prosecuted

A scammer who issued fake COVID test result certificates has been found guilty following an investigation by Warwickshire Trading Standards.


By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
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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

Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards has successfully prosecuted a fraudster who tricked holidaymakers into paying for fake COVID-19 ‘fit to fly’ certificates at the height of the pandemic.

Saranjeet Trina Kandola of Leamington Spa traded as Travel Test Solutions Ltd, which 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 which she claimed were then 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 Kandola’s customers became concerned that the certificates they had received were fake.

The certificates 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 an attempt 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 21 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 13 April, Kandola pleaded guilty to five offences contrary to the Fraud Act 2006. She will be sentenced at Warwick Crown Court on 11 May.

 

 

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