A line dancing instructor and his father tried to disguise themselves after ripping off hundreds of thousands of dollars from people who paid to attend tours.
Brett Robert Jenkins ran classes and social events across Brisbane, while his father Bruce John Jenkins helped with the business.
They admitted defrauding hundreds of victims - mostly senior citizens - of money paid to attend line dancing trips and tours interstate and overseas as well as cruises, a court has heard.
Brett and Bruce Jenkins ran interstate and overseas line dancing trips, holiday packages and cruise ship tours for years, advertising them at classes and on their website.
“It seems that bad business decisions led to you trying to recoup the losses by gambling which seems astounding to me,” Brisbane District Court Judge Paul Smith said in sentencing the men on Monday.
Bruce Jenkins, now 70, remortgaged his house so a tour could go ahead after his son gambled about $120,000 paid for a line dancing trip to New Zealand.
The elder man, a retired electrician, took over the business's finances.
The fraud committed between 2017 and 2019 relates to $267,605 the men received from 303 people.
No refunds were paid after the 10 trips were cancelled at short notice.
A forensic analysis found Brett Jenkins gambled about $700,000 and the men had used 51 bank accounts to commit the fraud.
A missing persons report was filed after the pair stopped going to classes in about February 2019 and an email saying they were going to disappear was found.
Bruce and Brett Jenkins were arrested after being spotted on the Sunshine Coast, although they had tried to change their appearance.
The father and son were bailed on strict conditions about two years ago after spending more than 19 months in custody.
It was a serious example of fraud, Judge Smith said.
“Conscious decisions were made to steal the money.”
The loss suffered by each victim may not be considerable but it had a significant impact especially on those on the aged pension.
Judge Smith sentenced each man to five years behind bars suspended after the time already served.
The men, who have no previous convictions, each pleaded guilty to one count of fraud to the value of $100,000 or more.