THE CROWN Prosecution Service has issued a statement over the fraudulent activity of a Gwent man who awarded lucrative contracts to his own business whilst working for a health board - using pseudonyms inspired by Irish rock band U2 to help him steal six-figure sums.

Mark Evill, of Earlswood Road, Shirenewton, paid bogus invoices for building work by Paul Hewson - the real name of singer Bono - and to David Evans, the guitarist from the Irish rock band.

The 47-year-old had initially denied three counts of transferring criminal property, fraud and perverting the course of justice, but changed his pleas on the second day of his trial.

His co-defenant Robert Howells, 65, of Old Barn, Sedbury, also pleaded guilty to fraud.

Speaking ahead of their sentencing, Juliette Simms, of the CPS, said: “Mark Evill took hundreds of thousands of pounds from this public body out of his own greed, using his colleagues to ensure his business received lucrative contracts for work.

“Evill used the money he made in the fraud to buy land and properties in Wales, taking two luxury holidays to Dubai, buying a Chanel watch, a £5,000 Breitling watch and numerous cars including a Land Rover and an Audi.

“Other defendants originally claimed they did not know about Evill’s involvement with the company but the CPS proved Howells was complicit in the fraud and Evill had bought him a Ford Focus worth almost £11,000 for his efforts.”

Merthyr Crown Court was told the pair used the U2 names as cover to abuse their managerial NHS positions in Powys, mid-Wales, and line their pockets with more than £707,947.24 of health cash.

Evill worked for the Estates and Property Department of the Powys Teaching Health Board between February 2014 and May 2015.

He was responsible for project management at the board but instead of putting projects out for competitive tender he would ensure his own company, George Morgan Ltd, was picked.

From November 2014 to August 2015, George Morgan Ltd received almost £708,000 from the Health Board. Evill created fictitious characters called Paul Hewson and David Evans who would compose emails from the company, signing off quotations.

Eventually, Evill admitted he had made up the personas, using the real name of U2’s Bono and The Edge.

The court heard how Howells, an agency project manager in the department, held the funds for a number of works George Morgan Ltd undertook. He received a £1,000 payment from the company and was helped in buying a car.

Another employee, Michael Cope, was found to have received £500 from Evill in return for him helping to pass work to the George Morgan Ltd business. He was convicted by a jury.

After Evill left the Health Board, his involvement in George Morgan Ltd was revealed. A chartered surveyor was commissioned to undertake an independent value for money assessment. The report identified deficiencies and remedial work required by projects carried out by George Morgan Ltd and costs were estimated at £1,420,604.