The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Sunday, 18 August

Bono And The Edge Named In Estates Management Fraud

Knighton Community Hospital

Three estates managers have been jailed for an  £822,000 NHS fraud - the ring-leader used the real names from members of U2 as his criminal alter egos. And used the money to fund a rock 'n' roll lifestyle

The three (estates managers not U2 performers) have been sentenced to a total of 14 years’ imprisonment following investigations by NHS Counter Fraud Service Wales.

One of the managers was working in-house and two were from an agency. They were convicted for defrauding Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) of £822,236.22 at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court on November 2.

Mark Evill (47) was sentenced to 7-years’ imprisonment, Robert Howells (65) to 4-years imprisonment and Michael Cope (43) to 3-years inside.

Evill and Howells were both employed through Resourcing Group Agency as project managers for the health board’s estates department, while Cope was employed directly by the board as a Senior Estate Manager.

 

Grassed

The investigation revealed that Evill and Howells knew each other prior to joining the agency and PTHB. An anonymous allegation was received, via the NHS Fraud & Corruption Reporting Line, which stated that Evill and Howells had misappropriated NHS money by receiving 'pay-offs from external contractors.

 

Devil Evill

Evill’s responsibilities included sourcing external contractors, approving tenders and quotes, authorising payments of invoices and verifying work completed. A water supplies and electrical supply project was allocated £342,000 by PTHB, and Evill directed that a specific contractor named George Morgan Ltd be used.

An investigation conducted by NHS Counter Fraud Service Wales (NHS CFS) Wales confirmed that George Morgan Ltd was actually set up and run by Evill, with the intention of paying himself for the work he was supposed to be contracting out on behalf of PTHB.

 

U2

Under the guise of George Morgan Ltd, Evill invoiced the health board using the false names of Paul Hewson and David Evans - making over £822,000. Paul Hewson and David Evans are better known as Bono and The Edge from the rock band U2.

 

Rock 'n' roll

The investigation established that Evill spent approximately £300,000 of the defrauded monies on a number of properties in and around Aberdare, South Wales, went on luxury holidays which included flying business class to Dubai, bought expensive watches and motor vehicles.

 

Bribes

Howells knew from the outset of Evill’s connection to George Morgan Ltd with Cope finding out sometime later. Both became complicit in the fraud by accepting bribes from Evill, who gave them envelopes containing cash or cheques, which he posted to their home addresses.

The work that was actually carried out was done to a very poor standard, so the health board subsequently had to pay to correct it.

 

Pleas

The three appeared at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court in April this year, where they all pleaded not guilty. On 11 October 2018, Evill and Howells changed their pleas to guilty, whilst Cope maintained his not guilty plea. Cope was found guilty by the Jury on 25 October 2018.

The Judge commended lead investigator Cheryl Hill, Deputy Manager of NHS CFS Wales, noting that her investigation and case preparation had greatly assisted the judicial process.

Efforts will now be made to recover the money.

 

Sentencing

After the sentencing hearing on November 2, Cheryl Hill, Deputy Manager of NHS Counter Fraud Service Wales, told ThisWeekinFM: "Defrauding NHS Wales in any capacity is totally unacceptable. Evill, Howells and Cope were all entrusted to ensure that the money spent by Powys Teaching Health Board was to be used to benefit NHS patients. Instead they decided to line their own pockets with NHS money via a well planned and deliberate deception. The sentences send out a strong deterrent message to anyone who tries to defraud the NHS"

 Carol Shillabeer, Chief Executive of Powys Teaching Health Board, said: "The people of Powys have been badly let down by the criminal actions of these individuals. If you suspect that anyone is committing fraud or another economic crime against the NHS, tell NHSCFA about it on 0800 028 40 60 or use our the reporting tool."

Picture: Knighton Community Hospital - just one of the premises in the Powys Teaching Health Board portfolio.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

Share



Related Articles

Free Wi-Fi May Have High Cost

New research has revealed that 79% of public Wi-Fi users take significant risks when choosing hotspots. Instead of taking the time to check that a hotspot is legitimate,...

 Read Full Article
Wily Wiley Takes Nearly £3 Million In Contractor Fraud

On Monday  August 5, a man was jailed after he stole £2.9 million from his employer by processing hundreds of payments for fictional contractor work into his...

 Read Full Article
NHS Funding - Bo Diddley? Or Bodes Well?

Boris Johnson will give the NHS £1.8 billion, with much earmarked for new build and maintenance, yet the PM has also been accused of diddling the books by saying...

 Read Full Article
Dobson The Deal Maker Graduates And Celebrates

A University College Of Estate Management alumna has been recognised for making the highest number of transactions in Yorkshire and the North West in 2018. Michelle...

 Read Full Article
Serco Gets Tagged With £19.2 Million Fine

The Serious Fraud Office will make Serco, the outsourcing giant, stump up £19.2 million - plus costs - for claiming they had tagged offenders when they hadn't....

 Read Full Article
Soames Mortified At Serco Tagging Fraud

Serco Group CEO, Rupert Soames has declared himself and his management team 'mortified' at the fraudulent behaviour of a Serco offender tagging company before he...

 Read Full Article
Smoking Outside Hospitals Worse Than Outside Pub

Public Health England has called on all NHS trusts to ban smoking on hospital grounds. "It cannot be right that it is more acceptable to smoke at the front door of a...

 Read Full Article
Dying Matters - Hospital Trust Fined For Asbestos Breach

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has been fined after refurbishment work at a hospital exposed employees and contractors to asbestos. The Trust has launched...

 Read Full Article
Manchester Hospitals Join Green Rewards

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust have become the first NHS Trust in the UK to launch Green Rewards, a behaviour change programme aimed at encouraging employees...

 Read Full Article
Malicious Intent Is Biggest Threat to Personal Data

A social media poll has found that sixty-five per cent of respondents believe that humans pose the biggest threat to their personal data rather than cyber...

 Read Full Article