Four accused of £1.3m Bermuda government fraud

Joel Ishmail, Samantha Bevan, Jeffrey Bevan and Paul Charity are accusedImage copyright
Wales News Service

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Joel Ishmail, Samantha Bevan, Jeffrey Bevan and Paul Charity deny the fraud

An accountant and his ex-headmistress wife fiddled £1.3m from the Bermuda government to buy luxury cars and properties, a court has heard.

Jeffrey and Samantha Bevan, of Cwmbran, Torfaen, are accused of laundering proceeds of £1.7m ($2.4m) stolen cash to spend on a lavish lifestyle.

Joel Ismail, 42, and Paul Charity, 52, both of Leicester, are also accused of taking part in the fraud.

They have denied all charges and are on trial at Cardiff Crown Court.

The court heard Mr 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.

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.

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 Mr Bevan had made 18,853 bets online between November 2008 and May 2014.

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

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Bermuda is a British overseas territory situated about 1,800 miles off the east coast of America

The jury was told Mr 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 ($89,000) to Chevron International and another for £52,000 ($71,000) to the Sylvia Richardson Care facility, the court heard.

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

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

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

Mr Evans said members of the Bermudan government would give evidence “about how ridiculous his claim is”.

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Mr 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 Mr Bevan was being prosecuted for the £1.3m ($1.7m) which “found its way to the UK” but not the $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.

Friend Mr Ismail and financial advisor Mr Charity deny converting criminal property.

Mr Charity, who is accused of deleting e-mails to conceal them from the police investigation, also denies perverting the course of justice.

The trail continues.

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