A THIRD defendant in a fraud case involving Powys NHS officials who used the real names of U2 stars has been convicted.

Michael Cope, was found to have received £500 in return for helping Mark Evill to pass health board contracts to his own company. Cope, who is 43 and of Merthyr Tydfil, was convicted by a jury today.

Evill, 47, worked for the Estates and Property Department of the Powys Teaching Health Board between February 2014 and May 2015 and was responsible for project management at the board.

Instead of putting projects out for competitive tender he would ensure his own company, George Morgan Ltd, was picked

Evil pleaded guilty shortly after the trial started at Merthyr Crown Court earlier this month.

From November 2014 to August 2015, George Morgan Ltd received almost £708,000 from the Health Board. Evill, of Shirenewton, Chepstow, 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, Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard.

Robert Howells, an agency project manager in the department, had also previously admitted his role in the fraud. The 65-year-old, also of Chepstow, 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.

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 £1.4 million.

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.”

The defendants will be sentenced on November 2.