A FATHER and his three sons have received a 28 years jail sentence for cheating the taxpayer in a North Wales bus fraud of “breathtaking arrogance.”

The men, who ran Express Motors of Caernarfon, claimed for thousands of fake bus journeys – some using a dead pensioner’s bus pass – and were found guilty of siphoning more than £500,000 which they failed to declare.

Judge Timothy Petts said at Mold Crown Court: “Each swipe of a bus pass was money in the bank for Express Motors. The fraud was one of breath-taking 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 father Eric Wyn Jones: “You had nothing but contempt for the capabilities of the staff of Gwynedd County Council.”

Mold Crown Court heard that thousands of fake bus journeys were reimbursed by Gwynedd County Council, and ultimately the Assembly Government.

Eric Wyn Jones, 77, who ran Caernarfon based Express Motors was a man of ill health who cared for his sick wife. He was sentenced to seven and a half years in jail as was his son Ian, 53.

Kevin Wyn Jones, 54, received seven years, son Keith, 51, six years and bus driver Rheinallt Williams 12 months.

In sentencing the judge praised the work of the prosecution in particular DC Mark Williams and civilian investigators Elfyn Roberts and Sarah Hardy.

Before the trial started Rheinallt Williams, 44, of Rhyd Fadog, Deiniolen pleaded guilty to a charge of making false representations to make a financial gain.

Eric Wyn Jones, 77, of Gerallt, Bontnewydd near Caernarfon and his three sons Kevin, 55, of Llwyn Beuno, Bontnewydd; Ian, 53, of Ffordd Carmel, Penygroes and Keith, 51, of Caer Berllan, Llanddaniel, Anglesey had denied

conspiring together to claim money back from Gwynedd Council for fake journeys using over-60s bus passes.

The men had also denied conspiring to hide, conceal, convert and disguise criminal property, namely money from Express Motors, by failing to account for all cash taken and paying tax on those takings.

All were found guilty after a four week trial.

Ian Wyn Jones pleaded guilty to having custody of £840 of counterfeit currency on July 30, 2014.

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

John Wyn Willliams defence barrister for Kevin, said: “Express Motors has been going for many years and it s tragic for the local community which is losing this facility.” He accepted that his part in the demise of the company would be paid for by a jail sentence.

Sion ap Mihangel said Keith Jones had played a lesser role in the conspiracy and it was a sign of the character of the man that he had continued working as a coach driver to help his family up to the night before he was sentenced.

John Philpotts said Eric Wyn Jones was “demonstrably ill” with two hospital appointments already booked and he was sole carer for his sick wife.

Andrew Jebb said Ian was married with three children and they would suffer greatly when he was jailed.

Brett Williamson for bus driver Rheinallt Williams said he was 44 years old, married with three young children. He might have been guilty of misguided loyalty and feared losing his job. He was “simply devastated that he has placed in jeopardy all that he holds dear.”

The company Express Motors claimed cash for up to 88,000 fake bus journeys.

A jury heard that one pensioner's pass was used thousands of times after he'd died.

Several other bus passes which allowed free travel for the over 60s and

others with certain disabilities, and were reported lost to Gwynedd council, were used thousands of times.

In one instance a pass was used more than 23,000 times even though its holder had been issued with a replacement card which he used legitimately.

Prosecutors said in a 15-month period more than £1.2 million was taken in

cash by the company but only £690,000 was paid into the bank. The remainder was paid into personal bank accounts or used to pay bills.