A Welsh 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, 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 denied all charges 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 became a teacher in a Bermuda school.

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.

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 – after having bought luxury Mercedes cars and a series of property investments around Britain.

“Mr Bevan was dishonestly involved in the fraudulent transfer of nearly $2.5m of money belonging to the Bermudan people, which had been covered up by being in the names of other organisations,” said prosecutor Tim Evans.

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

It showed payments had been made into the couple’s HSBC account in Bermuda.

Mr Bevan claimed the payments were for overtime while working for the Bermuda government.

He said he was on £295 ($400) per hour working 35-hours a week but then worked 50 hours on top of that each 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 Bermudan government.”

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

Cash transferred from the government account was allegedly used to buy cars and properties in Newport, Swansea, Glasgow and Nottingham.

The married couple are also accused of using money to pay off their £140,000 mortgage.

Mr Evans said Mrs Bevan must have realised something was going on by seeing the money pour into their joint account.

“She is an intelligent woman,” Mr Evans told the court.

“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 told the jury 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.

“Given that the original crimes alleged against him were on Bermuda soil he cannot be prosecuted for those back in the UK,” Mr Evans said.

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.