A MAN fleeced his friends out of thousands of pounds after volunteering to organise a dream holiday to the US before blowing the money and fleeing to Canada.
David Brown, 28, used his friends’ cash to pay off debts before escaping to Canada just days before his scam was unearthed.
Leeds Crown Court was told how Brown told his friends that he would book flights to America and make arrangements to hire a motor home to tour the country, telling them it would cost £1,115 each.
Between the end of summer 2010 and April the following year ,he collected £5,556 from five friends.
Judge Sally Cahill sentenced him to 12 months in prison suspended for two years.
Brown maintained throughout the case that he was hoping to pay the money back from compensation that he was set to receive following a work accident.
However, Judge Cahill was not convinced.
She said: “You suffered your accident in October 2010 and although you were expecting your compensation claim soon after you had been receiving money from your friends since the summer of that year.
“You then told people that you had booked the flights in January 2010 but you had not. You had spent that money.”
An earlier hearing was told how Brown told his friends that he had arranged the flights and motor home.
On May 2 the group found out that he had left the country.
Brown, of Skelton, near York, was arrested when he returned to the UK three weeks later.
He told police he was £40,000 in debt and was having problems with bailiffs.
He pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud by false representation.
Chloe Fairley, for Brown, said he had worked on a farm repairing machinery until he had an accident and was unable to work and his financial problems grew.
Brown was also ordered to pay £200 costs and undergo supervision while completing 200 hours’ unpaid work.