One of three brothers who took part in a money-laundering operation with businessman has been told by top judges he cannot complain about his jail term.
Andrew Elam and his brothers, Billy and John, were involved in giving huge sums to Barry Softley, who then used his business bank account to pay them fake “wages.”
He tried to have his sentence cut at the Court of Appeal, in London, with his lawyers arguing it was far too long for his limited role in the scam.
But his complaints were rejected by three of the country’s most senior judges, who ruled his punishment was “not excessive”.
The court heard the Elam brothers were paid over a two-year period after being made shareholders in Softley’s business.
However, the cash was the proceeds of dealing in class A drugs, for which John Elam was handed a six-year sentence in May last year.
Softley became involved in the illegal operation when his firm started to struggle financially.
He received the money before paying it out to the Elam brothers – who each received £150,000 in 2013.
Police searched John Elam’s property at Tower Lodge Farm, Halifax, in May 2015 and found £525 in cash and a money counting machine that was contaminated with traces of heroin and amphetamine.
Softley and Billy Elam also bought a Ferrari worth £187,000, with Softley withdrawing £127,000 in cash from a bank to put towards the purchase.
The car was registered in Billy Elam’s name but he told the dealership he was buying it jointly with Softley.
During the investigation police searched a property in Bradford where Andrew Elam had been staying and found £150,000 in cash in a bag hidden inside a wardrobe.
The notes were contaminated with heroin and amphetamine and his fingerprints were found on the bag.
John, 33, admitted being concerned in a money laundering arrangement, while Billy, 31, also of Tower Lodge Farm, admitted converting criminal property.
Softley, 43, of Langthorne Street, Fulham, west London, admitted being concerned in a money laundering arrangement, converting criminal property, fraud and possessing articles for use in fraud.
All three brothers were jailed for four-and-a-half years, while Softley was sentenced to three years in his absence after he failed to attend court.
Andrew Elam’s lawyers argued that, in light of the fact he played a less serious role in the plot than his brothers, he should not have received the same sentence.
But, rejecting his appeal, Mr Justice Warby said the crown court judge had “carefully considered” the roles of each brother and the sentence was justified.
Sitting with Lord Justice McCombe and Mr Justice Knowles, he added: “We do not think this argument can be sustained and this appeal is dismissed.”