Prosecutors today alleged that a Welsh accountant made more than 50 bogus payments — including to the Sylvia Richardson Care Facility — while personally cashing in.
Jeffrey Bevan, 50, has been charged with his wife, Samantha, 52, and two others with a raft of charges related to the alleged theft of almost $2.5 million from the Bermuda Government.
They have denied the offences, with Mr Bevan saying the money was for “overtime” earned while working in the office of the Accountant-General of Bermuda.
According to the South Wales Argus, the prosecution launched its case today.
Prosecutor Tim Evans said Mr Bevan worked for the Bermuda Government for nearly three years before leaving the country, blaming his mother’s poor health and his children’s education.
An investigation in Bermuda found a series of bogus payments during his time of employment, including a $71,000 payment to the Sylvia Richardson Care Facility and $89,000 to Chevron International.
Mr Evans said the investigation revealed the payments had gone into Mr Bevan’s HSBC account in Bermuda.
By the time the fake payments were discovered, Mr Evans said Mr Bevan had already left the island.
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.”
In total, Mr Evans said 52 bogus payments were identified by investigators, with the funds being transferred from Mr Evan’s Bermuda account to Britain.
That money was used to buy a Mercedes Benz and properties in Newport, Swansea, Glasgow and Nottingham, along with paying off Mr and Mrs Bevan’s £140,000 mortgage.
Mr Bevan reportedly claimed that the payments were for overtime while working for the Bermuda Government, saying he would work as much as 50 hours of overtime on top of his 35-hour week.
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 Bermuda Government.”
But the prosecutor said members of the Bermuda Government would give evidence “about how ridiculous his claim is”.
Mr Evans said that Mrs Bevan must have been aware of the illegal funds, saying she would have noticed the money appearing in their account.
“She is an intelligent woman who had been headmistress,” Mr Evans said. “Her husband had amassed large amounts of money and she must have at the very least suspected that it was the proceeds of dishonest criminal conduct.”
Mr Evans also told the jury he was being prosecuted in Britain because “put simply, he is over here. Bermuda cannot prosecute”.
He added: “Given that the original crimes alleged against him were on Bermuda soil he cannot be prosecuted for those back in the UK either.
“It is a criminal offence to move the proceeds of a crime between bank accounts. Of the $2.4 million that went into their bank accounts in Bermuda, $441,995.63 appears to have been spent over there.
“Of the balance of about $2 million it was transferred into UK bank accounts. £1,325,477.39 found its way to the UK. That is a criminal offence.”
Mr and Mrs Bevan, of Cwmbran, collectively deny 13 counts of converting criminal property and three counts of transferring criminal property.
Joel Ismail and Paul Charity, both from Leicester, have also been charged with converting criminal property.
Mr Charity has further been charged with perverting the course of justice by deleting e-mails linked to the offences.
The trial, being held in Cardiff Crown Court, is expected to last eight weeks.
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