'Walter Mitty' conman stole travel agent passcodes and spent £40k on lavish high grade holidays
A fantasist who boasted of a high profile lifestyle and his connections to counter-terrorism and the military continued extravagant holidays worth thousands of pounds after stealing computer pass codes from travel companies, a court has heard.
Adam Griffiths and a pal flew business class to Dubai and stayed in the seven-star Burj Al Arab hotel using one of his fraudulent freebies.
Griffiths in addition has claimed to work with “private military contractors” fighting so-called Islamic State.
He said he was associated with counter-terrorism work and had connections with Scotland Yard.
In fact he lived in a council flat in Swansea.
He also offers convictions for impersonating a officer, and in 2014 claimed to possess caught the deadly disease Ebola while travelling in Africa.
A judge described the 30-year-old as a “Walter Mitty character” – a mention of the James Thurber novel in regards to a man who lives a fantasy life.
Swansea Crown Court heard that during May and June this past year Adams was a normal visitor at the Tui travel companies in the city’s Quadrant shopping centre.
Carina Hughes, prosecuting, said Griffiths became referred to as something of a “time waster” amongst staff for moving in, boasting about his lifestyle of exotic holidays, celebrity friends and private jets, but actually booking any holidays never.
However, during one particular visit he got your hands on some staff computer pass codes, and used them online to book £ almost;39,500 worth of trips.
He also visited the independent Swansea travel companies Burgess Travel in June, where he was again in a position to obtain pass codes – in cases like this he ran up a £5,500 bill.
Miss Hughes said that among the holidays he fraudulently booked involved him and a pal going for 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 marketing showing a globe-trotter living a Champagne lifestyle apparently.
His travel frauds found light once the invoice for the vacation booked with the Burgess code attained the firm’s Kingsway office – and staff realised that 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’s got 16 previous convictions for 28 offences including ones for violence, possession of Class A drugs, dishonesty, and public order matters.
Among his convictions are three for impersonating cops.
Andrew Evans, for Griffiths, said a psychiatrist had concluded his client had not been experiencing any diagnosable psychiatric disorder, nonetheless it may be he had “self-worth” issues.
He said Griffiths originated from a family group with “criminogenic tendencies”, and had had a “difficult background” – also it was perhaps this that had led him to make a persona of someone who was to be admired and respected.
Referring to the visit to Dubai, the individual was said by him Griffiths had taken with him was somebody he previously befriended on a bus .
When they surely got to the exclusive hotel they found the area was only on a bed and breakfast basis, plus they didn’t have hardly any money to take part in the vacation.
In the finish Griffths’ travelling companion had to ring his mum and have for the money to be sent so that they could easily get home.
He added that’s client “feels a desperate must be accepted” also to be an authority figure and even an heroic figure.
Judge Geraint Walters described the case as “most unusual” and “disturbing”.
He said Griffiths was “something of a Walter Mitty character” who lived a persona far taken off the truth of his true to life.
He said he cannot claim to totally know very well what was going on in the defendant’s mind, but to him it seemed the defendant’s insecurity led him to need admiration from others also to “head to very extravagant lengths so as to impress”.
Giving the defendant a 25% discount for his guilty pleas the judge sentenced him to a complete of two-and-a-half years in prison.
The judge also made a Proceeds of Crime Act order against Griffiths – the power figure from his wrong-going was stated to be £44,220.90 but he’s got no available assets so a nominal £1 confiscation order was made.