Jail likely for Padarn MD

John David Hulme, 55, the former Managing Director of Llanberis-based Padarn Bus, has been found guilty of making inflated claims about concessionary fare passenger numbers to the Gwynedd County Council as part of a fiddle and falsifying documents to back them up.

He has been told that a prison sentence is “inevitable.”

In total, £1.3m was fraudulently claimed by the company over three years.

Mr Hulme pleaded not guilty at Caernarfon Crown Court to fraud by making false representations between 1 July 2011 and 31 December 2012 to the County Council about the number of concessionary fare passengers carried by the company; and to false accounting by falsifying claim forms submitted to the County Council for accounting purposes.

The Court heard that between July 2011 and March 2014 the false claims totalled £814,655.78.

The prosecution said that until he was suspended by the company in December 2012, Mr Hulme was responsible for making the false claims and for generating the false documents supporting the claims. 

Former Padarn Bus MD John Hulme found guilty in £1.3m fraud case and told to expect to go to jail

Operations Director Darren Price had already pleaded guilty to similar charges of fraud covering the period after Mr Hulme was suspended. False claims were made totalling £495,877.08 in the period until Mr Hulme was suspended (routeONE, Court Report, 16 March).

It took the jury less than three hours to find Mr Hulme guilty.

Following the verdict, Judge Mervyn Hughes QC warned Mr Hulme that a custodial sentence was inevitable for him. He told him: “It became clearer and clearer during the course of this trial that you were the author and perpetrator of this fraud right up to December 2012 and you gave instructions to Darren Price so he was able to continue it.

“Although you are not charged with that, he wouldn’t have been able to do so if you hadn't given those instructions.”

Mr Hulme and Mr Price are bailed until Thursday 24 March, when they will be sentenced.