Jailed Halifax brothers ‘lived the high life from dealing class A drugs’

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THREE Halifax brothers who helped the managing director of a Leeds company launder more than £600,000 of drugs money through his business have been jailed.

Leeds Crown Court heard Billy, John and Andrew Elam gave huge sums to asbestos removal firm boss Barry Softley who then used his company bank accounts to pay the brothers ‘wages’.

Mrs Senior of the North East Regional Asset Recovery Team said; “The sentencing of the Elam’s is a culmination of a long and detailed investigation by the NE RART.

“After living the high life on the proceeds of dealing Class A drugs and laundering money through a number of businesses, they now have significant time in prison to consider their actions.

“We will also be perusing confiscation orders against them through the Proceeds of Crime Act.”

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

Mark McKone, prosecuting, said the money was the proceeds of dealing in class A.

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

Leeds Crown Court heard Softley had owned asbestos removal Fibre Enviromental Services since 2005 and was the sole company shareholder.

Softley 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 brother 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..

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

The court heard 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 finger prints were on the bag.

Mr McKone said it was the Crown’s case that the brothers had been involved in “high end” levels of drug dealing.

The brothers were each jailed for four-and-a-half years.

John, 33, of Tower Lodge Farm, pleaded guilty to being concerned in a money laundering arrangement. The judge said the sentence will run consecutive to the six-year sentence he is currently serving.

Billy, 31, of Tower Lodge Farm, Northowram, Halifax, pleaded guilty to converting criminal property.

Andrew, 30, of Newlands Grove, Northowram, Halifax, pleaded guilty to concealing criminal property.

Judge Tom Baylis, QC, said: “Each of you was involved in criminality of some sophistication.”

Softley, 43, of Langthorne Street, London, 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.