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NHS managers who defrauded health service of £800k using names of U2 band members ordered to pay back more than £500k

By Dominic Robertson | Mid Wales | Crime | Published:

NHS managers who defrauded the health service out of more than £800,000 using the names of U2 band members have been ordered to pay back more than half a million pounds.

The trio, one NHS employee and two contractors, were imprisoned last year for fraud and are still behind bars.

The fraud involved work at Welshpool Hospital, the children’s wing of Brecon Memorial Hospital, and Bronllys Hospital.

Mark Evill, 48, of Shirenewton, Chepstow, who was contracted as a project manager by Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB), awarded work to contractor “George Morgan Ltd”, which he himself owned.

Evill also made payments to Robert Howells, 66, of Sudbury, Chepstow, and Michael Cope, 44, of Garden City, Merthyr Tydfil, with the money he earned to buy their cooperation.

It emerged during the court case last year that the fraud used fake names that were later revealed to be copying the real names of members of the rock band U2.

Under the guise of George Morgan Ltd, Evill invoiced the health board using false names ‘Paul Hewson’ and ‘David Evans’, the real names of Bono and The Edge from U2, making more than £822,000.

The trio were convicted of fraud and sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment between them in November 2018 after a fraud investigation, also led by NHS CFS Wales.

Evill has now been ordered to pay £549,688.75 as compensation to Powys Teaching Health Board within three months.

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Greedy

If he fails to pay he will have to serve a further 65 months imprisonment.

Howells has to pay £13,248.24 compensation to the health board – also within three months.

Default of the order will result in a further seven months imprisonment.

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Michael Cope has to pay £559.96, with months, with failure to pay resulting in a further 14 days in prison.

The figure could grow – NHS CFS Wales investigators say they will also seek to recover any future assets or money that becomes available to go back into the NHS.

The organisation said it will periodically revisit their wealth to see if any further money can be recovered.

Cheryl Hill, deputy operational fraud manager at NHS CFS Wales, said today: “Today’s result sends out a clear message that those found to have defrauded the NHS will not only face prosecution, but that the money stolen will be pursued to ensure that it goes back where it belongs.

"Evill, Howells and Cope were greedy in their bid to re-direct NHS funds into their own pockets, so it is good to see the money being recovered so that it can be used for what it was intended for – patient care.”

Sue Frith, CEO of the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, added: "I commend the Wales Counter Fraud Service for their work in the original fraud investigation and this very successful recovery. The court order enables the recovery of over half a million pounds to the NHS.

"Our organisations continue to work closely together to tackle fraud against the health service and procurement fraud is one of our priority action areas this year."

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