A complex police investigation has revealed the woman who lost the most through the despicable actions of crooked travel agent Lyne Barlow was her own mother.

The seeds of her fraudulent Facebook holiday scam, which started in 2019, were actually sown four years earlier with the death of her father.

When Barlow’s mother received a sizeable life insurance payout and a lumpsum as part of her retirement package, Barlow, now 39, formerly of Stanley, offered to look after her finances.

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She told her mother she was investing them in a reliable company and was getting a good return, convincing her mother she was becoming very wealthy.

Detective Sergeant Alan Meehan, who led the investigation, said: “In the course of the investigation it was revealed that she had defrauded a family member which started in 2015.

“That family member lost over £500,000 but because of the fraud she believed she was a millionaire.

“As part of that she was still living a lifestyle as if she was a millionaire, which had to be funded by Lyne Barlow to keep that fraud ongoing.”

Barlow, who has two children, was also spending cash on her own lavish lifestyle and began coming up with more scams to keep to money coming in.

She also pretended to be a relative to access their bank accounts and then intercepted post, so they did not realise money was being removed from the account.

Barlow also encouraged family and friends to invest their savings and pension payouts, promising them they were likely to see up to a six-figure return.However they never materialised.

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DS Meehan said: “When the family member’s money ran out Barlow then propagated other investment frauds and they were used to continue the fraud.

“When that ran out it is believed she started the travel business which gave her access to funds, which enabled those frauds to be propagated as well as having a lifestyle.

“It is relatively straightforward to set up a company but right from the off it was a fraudulent company.

“It was not going to be operated properly.

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The Northern Echo: Lyne Barlow has been jailed Lyne Barlow has been jailed (Image: Contributor)

“Most fraudsters are plausible and believable and that is part of the mechanism of the offence.

“Some of the frauds were very close family members and there would be no reason to disbelieve so no doubt this will have come as a shock to these individuals that she has committed these offences.

“There has been significant financial harm.”