Financial adviser one of four accused in US$2.5m Bermuda gov’t fraud

A UK financial adviser and an accountant have appeared in Cardiff Crown Court with two other individuals over their alleged roles in laundering nearly US$2.4m (£1.7m) from the Government of Bermuda.

Jeffrey Bevan, 50, from Cwmbran, his wife Samantha Bevan, their financial adviser Paul Charity and friend, Joel Ismail deny all of the charges against them.

The court has heard that Jeffrey and Samantha Bevan, of Cwmbran, Torfaen – a married couple at the time – are accused of laundering proceeds of £1.7m (US$2.4m) stolen cash to spend to fund a lavish lifestyle, according to local reports from the court proceedings.

Financial adviser Charity, 52, and friend, Ismail, 42, both of Leicester, are also accused of taking part in the fraud. They have denied all charges and are on trial.

The court heard Bevan, a qualified accountant, began illegally taking taxpayers’ money after moving his family to Bermuda in 2011. The 50-year-old moved for a £80,000-a-year job as payments manager in the office of the Accountant General of Bermuda while his 52-year-old wife taught at a school on the island, BBC Wales reported today.

The father-of-two is accused of making 52 bogus payments to himself before illegally transferring the money back to the UK in the name of the married couple.

‘Gambling addict’ claims

This was allegedly used to pay off the £140,000 mortgage on their house, invest in 11 properties in Newport, Swansea, Glasgow and Nottingham and buy two Mercedes Benz cars. Prosecutor Tim Evans described Mr Bevan as a “gambling addict” with a “fascination with risk and trying to win big”. Paddy Power revealed Bevan had made 18,853 bets online between November 2008 and May 2014, the BBC Wales report said

He deposited more than £2m into his account on the site, later withdrawing the remaining £1,539,400.

Addressing the jury at Cardiff Crown Court, Judge Michael Fitton QC said that Bevan quit his job after less than three years to move back to Wales – blaming his mother’s poor health and the children’s schooling.

An investigation in Bermuda uncovered a series of bogus payments including £65,000 (US$89,000) to Chevron International and another for £52,000 (US$71,000) to the Sylvia Richardson Care facility, the court heard.

Prosecutor Evans said: “Bevan had gone by then. He went because he knew that he was about to be rumbled for a massive fraud.”

Bermuda government ‘overtime’ claims

Bevan claimed the payments were for overtime while working for the Bermuda government, saying he earned £295 (US$400) per hour working 35 hours a week but worked 50 hours a week on top of that.

“His defence will be that every cent of the US$2.4m was effectively overtime, over and above his basic and overtime hours, presumably tax free, and paid voluntarily and legitimately by the Bermudan government,” Evans added

He also said members of the Bermudan government would give evidence “about how ridiculous his claim is”, according to BBC Wales. Evans said Mrs Bevan must have seen money pour into their joint account and “at the very least suspected that it was the proceeds of dishonest criminal conduct”.

The jury heard Bevan was being prosecuted for the £1.3m ($1.7m) which “found its way to the UK”, but not the US$441,995 he allegedly spent while still in Bermuda, as he could not be prosecuted for alleged offences committed in Bermuda in a UK court.

Mr and Mrs Bevan deny 13 counts of converting criminal property and three counts of transferring criminal property.

Financial adviser Charity and friend Ismail deny converting criminal property. Charity, who is also accused of deleting e-mails to conceal them from the police investigation, also denies perverting the course of justice.

The trial continues.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Head of Video and Ezines at Open Door Media Publishing. An experienced journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as a fully qualified IFA, Gary works across both International Investment and InvestmentEurope titles. Previous video production credits include projects on BBC, C4 and SKY.

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