Director laundered £600,000 of drug cash to fund his “penchant” for luxury cars

Barry Softley.
Barry Softley.

AN on-the-run managing director who helped three brothers launder £600,000 of drugs money through his business has been given a three year prison sentence.

A court heard Barry Softley became involved in fraud when his asbestos removal business got into difficult because he had a “penchant” for luxury cars

Softley enjoyed the high life and had a fondness for Bentleys, paying up to £137,000 a time for the British-made high-powered vehicles.

Leeds Crown Court heard Softley would exchange one Bentley for another and had a personal name plate of 600 BS

Softley became involved with the Elam brothers when his Morley-based company went into liquidation in September 2013.

Billy, John and Andrew Elam, from Halifax, gave Softley huge sums of money which they made through dealing class A drugs.

Softley then used his company bank accounts to pay the brothers ‘wages’.

The Elams were illegally paid sums over a two-year period after being made shareholders in Softley’s businesses.

John Elam is currently serving a six-year prison sentence, imposed in May this year, for supplying class A drugs.

Softley owned asbestos removal Fibre Environmental Services from 2005 and was the sole company shareholder.

He became involved in the illegal operation as he grew desperate for money when his company begun to suffer financially

Softley set up two other firms, Fibre Construction Services and Fibre Demolition Services, and made the brothers shareholders.

The businesses were registered at premises in Drighlington and Morley.

Cash was then paid into Softley’s personal bank account before then being transferred through business accounts and paid to the Elams, purporting to be wages and share dividends..

Each brother was paid £102,000 on August 30, 2013, followed by £48,000 each two weeks later.

Police searched John Elam’s farm in Halifax on May 28 2015 and found £525 in cash along with a cash counting machine that was contaminated with traces of heroin and amphetamine.

Softley and Billy Elam also paid for a Ferrari worth £187,000 from a car dealership. Softley went to a bank and withdrew £127,000 in cash which he put towards the sale of the vehicle.

A Porsche worth £50,000 was part exchanged during the deal.

The vehicle was registered in Billy Elam’s name but he told the dealership he was buying it jointly with Softley.

During the police investigation police searched Andrew Elam’s girlfriend’s home in Bradford and found £150,000 in cash in a bag hidden inside a wardrobe..

The notes were contaminated with high levels of heroin and Andrew’s fingerprints were on the bag.

The brothers were each jailed for four-and-a-half years for money laundering offences at a hearing before Leeds Crown Court last week.

Softley, 43, of Langthorne Street, London, failed to attend the hearing and a warrant was issued for his arrest

He had previously pleaded guilty to being concerned in a money laundering arrangement, converting criminal property, fraud and possessing articles used in fraud. He failed to attend court to be sentenced and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

During the money laundering offences Softley, now of Langthorne Street, London, had also illegally secured a loan against a Bentley Continental which he no longer had possession of as it taken from him by another creditor.

Judge Tom Bayliss sentenced Softley in his absence and said he would face a consecutive sentence for failing to surrender to bail when he is arrested

Describing the offending, the judge said: “For whatever reason the company went into liquidation. Probably one of the reasons for that is that Mr Softley had a penchant for expensive motor cars. His particular penchant was for Bentley motorcars. He often exchanged one Bentley for another.”