Regulation  

Financial adviser jailed over cocaine operation

Financial adviser jailed over cocaine operation

A man who built up a successful career as a financial adviser was branded greedy earlier this week when he was jailed for cocaine supply.

Defendant Steven Craig Budgen, aged 35, is said to have financed the purchase of a mini bus by another man so it could be used as a cover for drugs supply.

He was jailed for three-and-a-half years at Mold Crown Court.

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It was described as a personal tragedy for him.

The court heard the conviction at trial last week would mean that he would lose everything he had worked so hard to achieve since he was a teenager.

An investigation under The Proceeds of Crime Act will now take place to see how much, if any, of his ill-gotten gains can be seized.

Budgen, of Aberconwy Road in Prestatyn, denied being concerned in the supply of cocaine but was convicted by a jury last week.

He was told by Judge Niclas Parry: “For no other reason that sheer greed, and a desire to make what you considered to be utterly easy and significant money, you were prepared to risk everything.”

Budgen, he said, had a successful career and a good family life.

“You became involved in what I am satisfied in a fairly significant business involving regular sale of class A drugs to numerous customers,” said Judge Parry.

It was considered an indication of the extent of the business that when his business partner in the venture was stopped, on one occasion, he was carrying cocaine with a value in excess of £4,000.

Judge Parry said Budgen had no regard for the misery and harm that his profiteering would cause.

The judge told Budgen: “You of all people being addicted to cocaine should have been aware of that.

“You were the money behind this.”

He had provided the finance to source the drugs, he knew where to source them, and was prepared to go to significant personal expense  - some £30,000 – to fund a vehicle for his co-defendant Paul Williams.

That was a vehicle used “as a cover” to sell drugs.

Judge Parry said that he accepted that Budgen did not sell cocaine himself and that Williams did that “under the cover of being a taxi driver”.

The sale of the drugs could not have happened without Budgen’s role, he said.

Judge Parry said it was a significant role, which had gone on for some 17 months.

“You have built a successful career starting literally from the bottom of the ladder and become a successful financial adviser – an achievement in your career which you have now utterly ruined.”

The evidence showed that he had realised the fact he was putting the life he had built up in jeopardy and made efforts to withdraw from the venture.