AN accountant from Cwmbran has been jailed for seven years and four months after laundering into the UK £1.3 million stolen from the Bermudan government.

Jeffrey Bevan, 50, of Orchid Court, Ty Canol, Cwmbran, stole the money over a period of around two years through 52 illegal transactions he carried out while he was a payments manager for the Department of the Accountant General in Bermuda.

He then spent much of the money on luxury cars and properties.

Judge Martin Fitton told Bevan at a sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court that he had exploited flaws in a computer system in the department - which he had been tasked with introducing - for his own benefit.

Judge Fitton accepted that Bevan had not planned his criminal activity before he began his job in Bermuda in January 2011, but by his subsequent actions he had "betrayed the trust that the Government of Bermuda invested in you".

That betrayal, added Judge Fitton, extended to Bevan's family. He told him: "You led a double life."

Financial irregularities came to light in Bermuda only after Bevan and his family returned to the UK. He had resigned his post in February 2013 and left in May.

He could not be prosecuted here for crimes committed in Bermuda - the theft of the money.

But after his activities came to light, he was charged here with three counts of transferring criminal property, linked to the £1.3m transferred to the UK, and with 10 counts of converting criminal property - in effect, money laundering.

The latter related to the buying of several properties, mainly in south Wales but also in England and Scotland, the purchase of two Mercedes Benz cars, and the paying off of the mortgage on the family's Cwmbran home.

In all, the 52 illegal transactions Bevan made from Bermuda amounted to approaching $2,500,000BMD or some £1.8m, with several hundreds of thousands of pounds seemingly having been spent before the family's return to the UK.

Judge Fitton said Bevan had "manipulated the process" in the computer payments system, and had managed to hide the payments he made to himself.

Bevan's had been a "careful, persistent and increasing rate of offending over more than two years", during which he had become "more and more confident and arrogant".

"You were driven further by greed and must have enjoyed the proceeds of your dishonesty," said Judge Fitton.

When questions were asked about discrepancies, after he had returned to the UK, he had "fobbed off" those asking them.

By concealing evidence of his wrong doing he then, said Judge Fitton, allied blame to fall on others he worked with, exacerbated when he identified others to investigators.

He told Bevan: "This was an entirely cynical and dishonest ploy intended to extricate yourself, and undermines the assertion that you feel any remorse."

Bevan sentence comprises two terms of seven years and four months for two of the charges of transferring criminal property - to run concurrently - and three years on each of the remaining charges, to run concurrently with each other and with the larger sentence, a total of seven years and four months.

Bevan's wife Samantha was found not guilty of two counts of transferring criminal property and one count of converting criminal property.

Bevan's sentence follows a four-year joint international police investigation between the Organised and Economic Crime Department of the Bermuda Police Service and TARIAN Regional Organised Crime Unit.

Following a week-long trial, two co-defendants, Joel Ismail and Paul Charity, both from Leicester, who had also faced joint charges with Bevan of conspiring to launder money stolen from the Bermuda Government, were unanimously acquitted of all charges relating to money laundering.

However, Charity was found guilty of perverting the course of justice by deleting a series of emails with the intention of concealing them from the police during the investigation. He has been sentenced to eight months in prison

Confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act have started in order to recover the funds stolen from the Bermudan Government. 

Detective Superintendent Huw Davies of the Regional Organised Crime Unit said: “This investigation is a clear example of criminality having no geographical boundaries.  However, it also demonstrates that law enforcement also has no boundaries in pursuing criminality.

“The excellent co-operation between British and Bermudian law enforcement was crucial in obtaining this conviction. We are now committed to recovering significant assets for the people of Bermuda.”

Detective Superintendent Sean Field-Lament, head of the crime division of the Bermuda Police Service said: “ I echo the words of our partner, Detective Superintendent Huw Davies and would add that increasingly crime has no borders and lLaw enforcement has to come together to tackle the challenges that transnational crime represents.

"The length and breadth of this investigation, the highly professional partnership approach, and indeed the successful conclusion, is a firm statement of intent by the Bermuda Police Service and our international law enforcement partners not only to bring offenders to justice but also to recover the proceeds of crime and return to society the assets that have been unlawfully taken.

"I would also like to express our gratitude to the Financial Secretary, the Accountant General and to the staff of the Accountant Generals Department, both past and present for their continued support and assistance throughout this protracted investigation."