I don't have any questions, but I used this forum a lot to read similar cases to mine and as mine has been resolved today I thought I'd share my story as a source for anyone who has the same problems.
I have had a gambling problem for a few years, which often leaves me short of money each month. Unfortunately, this led to me making the terrible decision to buy a zone 1-2 travelcard when I live in zone 6 as the station I go to doesn't have barriers. I often work late so I rarely get the train home (usually a cab paid for by the company I work for) and so I justified it to myself this way. I would say that I did this for around a year and a half until I got found out.
I didn't get caught in person, I just got a letter from SWT requesting that I attend an interview. I was very panicked, particularly as it was around 3 weeks waiting and the letter only said it was due to an inconsistency either on or before a certain date. I made sure I bought the correct ticket from the day I received this letter, and attended an interview mid April.
I didn't take anyone with me, and I'm glad of that. A man came to collect me from the station entrance and was quite abrupt, making me more nervous, but explained that they would ask me questions and they were looking for an admittance of guilt.
I was taken to the interview room where it became apparent that this man was a scribe (they were unable to record the interview for some reason). The man conducting the interview put me at ease quickly, he was kind and calm, offering me a break whenever I wanted. I was surprised to see that they had an entire file on me, including my facebook profile picture and my place of work. This worried me instantly as I work for a finance company and therefore any prosecution could ruin my career.
The interview took a very long time, around 2 and a half hours in total as everything was handwritten down. Every time they start a new line of questioning they have to re-caution you and this being written down was quite annoying and just made me more nervous.
I answered everything honestly. I will admit I thought about lying and saying it had been less months but I had noticed the transcript from my oyster card had a date from 2015, so everything I had read here about them only being able to go back around 8 months is not correct. I was completely honest and apologised for my actions.
Once the interview was over, I was taken to get a copy of the transcript, I can't say I particularly wanted it but I was glad I did. The man who conducted the interview took me aside and said it was not up to him what would happen but the likelihood of me being offered a settlement was very likely due to the following reasons:
1. I am only 23, and prosecution would likely result in future lost revenue for SWT if I lost my job
2. It was a first offence
3. I had come to the interview and been honest
I then had to wait a few weeks, I got the letter a month after my initial interview. My total settlement was offered at around £900, with over £700 of this being admin and operational fees. I will say I was surprised as I was expecting to be asked to pay around 3-4 times this amount. The total avoided fee charge was only £150 which again I was surprised at and very generous of SWT. I am paying the bill today and hopefully that will be the end of the matter.
I would like to thank CAG for being a place I could use to ease my mind, there was one thread in particular that I can no longer find that seemed to be very similar to mine that really calmed me prior to the interview.
And to anyone who finds themselves in this situation, it is not the end of the world but it is a good wake up call to make sure you make some changes in your life. I'm looking forward to putting this behind me.