A SHAMED health manager from Gwent was among three jailed for 14 years after using fake names of rock stars U2 to fiddle more than £700,00 public money from the NHS.

They paid bogus invoices for building work by Paul Hewson - the real name of singer Bono - and to David Evans, name of guitarist The Edge.

Mark Evill, 47, of Earlswood Road, Shirenewton, and Robert Howells, 65, of Old Barn, Sedbury, used the U2 names as cover to abuse their managerial NHS positions in Powys, to steal more than £707,947.24 of health cash.

Ringleader Evill, 47, splashed out his stolen NHS cash on Dubai holidays, property, watches and cars.

He set up a company called George Morgan Limited named after his dog to pay the fake invoices from the Powys Teaching Health Board where he was project manager.

Prosecutor Christopher Rees said: “It is a mark of the blatant, brazen and provocative dishonesty of Mark Evill that he chose to use the names of members of U2 to further this fraud.”

Co-defendant and fellow project manager Robert Howells, 65, also pleaded guilty to fraud.

Mr Rees said: “Howells played a vital role in facilitating the fraud and he allowed himself to be bribed to allow Evill to continue his actions.”

A court heard much of the work carried out on the contracts awarded to George Morgan Ltd. were completed to a “very poor standard”.

A chartered surveyor was drafted in by the health board to examine the work - he concluded that rectifying the work to standard would cost the NHS £1.4 million.

Nigel Fryer, defending, said: “Evill didn’t know when to stop digging and that shows the state of his mind at the time. This was utter desperation.”

Evill, 42, had initially denied his crimes but changed his pleas on the second day of his trial on Thursday.

Michael Cope, 43, of Merthyr Tydfil, also denied fraud but was found guilty and jailed for three years.

Evill was jailed for seven years and Howells for four at Merthyr Crown Court.

Judge Peter Heywood said: “The NHS is there for all, from cradle to grave. Evill, you recruited Howells and Cope into this despicable fraud on the health service.

“You set up that company to divert money to yourself. You had the gall to make up false names. Howells, I have no doubt that you knew from the outset that George Morgan was a complete sham.

“Cope, you behaved in a lamentable way. I have no doubt that you were fully aware of the situation.