Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS -

JUDGE Ti­mothy Petts said the trial had re­vealed a “long-run­ning fraud on the pub­lic purse”.

Eric Wyn Jones, 77, owned Ex­press Mo­tors and em­ployed his sons Ian, 53, Kevin, 55, and Keith, 51.

The judge said: “You have been found guilty by the jury of se­ri­ous charges in re­la­tion to fleecing the lo­cal au­thor­ity by sub­mit­ting false claims for con­ces­sion­ary bus fares and con­spir­ing to­gether to laun­der money from Ex­press Mo­tors.

“Each swipe of a bus pass was money in the bank for Ex­press Mo­tors. The fraud was one of breathtaking ar­ro­gance.

“The jury de­cided all four of you are part of the con­spir­acy. De­ci­sions were not taken by one of you. All of you had to be in­volved. You are all part of a plan to swin­dle the lo­cal au­thor­ity for the ben­e­fit of the fam­ily.”

He told Eric Wyn Jones: “You had noth­ing but con­tempt for the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the staff of f Gwynedd County Coun­cil.” l.”

In sen­tenc­ing, the judge ge praised the work of the pros­e­cu­tion, in par­tic­u­lar De­tec­tive Con­sta­ble Mark Wil­liams and civil­ian in­ves­ti­ga­tors El­wyn Roberts and Sarah Hardy.

Lawyers for Eric Jones and Kevin Jones said they y both con­tinue to deny the e of­fences.

The Peny­groes-based firm ac­cepted con­ces­sion­ary fare passes which give free bus travel to pas­sen­gers aged over 60 and those with dis­abil­i­ties. Each month, Ex­press Mo­tors would make re­fund claims to Gwynedd Gwyned Coun­cil based on the number numb of times the cards had been swiped. In a sep­a­rate fraud, Ex­press Mo­tors also failed to pay tax on £500,000 £ of tak­ings which were kept off the busi­ness’s ac­counts. Af­ter the hear­ing, Det Chief C In­spec­tor Ger­wyn Thomas Th of North Wales Po­lice Polic said: “This was done for the their own greed dur­ing a time of eco eco­nomic aus­ter­ity, and their ac­tions have caused a sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic loss to the tax payer.

“I would like to pay trib­ute to those wit­nesses who came for­ward and as­sisted the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, as well as thank­ing the many dif­fer­ent agen­cies who have pro­vided valu­able as­sis­tance to a small ded­i­cated team of de­tec­tives who dili­gently worked on this in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

A Gwynedd coun­cil spokesper­son said: “We are sat­is­fied with to­day’s sen­tence and be­lieve it re­flects the se­ri­ous na­ture of the case, which in­volved sig­nif­i­cant sums of money be­ing fraud­u­lently ob­tained from the pub­lic purse.

“Valu­able lessons have been learnt since this case first came to light, and it is an­tic­i­pated that new all-Wales pro­ce­dures for record­ing and claim­ing con­ces­sion­ary fares for all lo­cal au­thor­i­ties will be in­tro­duced in the near fu­ture.”

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