Man living in Greece found guilty of Pembrokeshire benefits charge

The long running case of a Llanteg man accused of benefit fraud has been settled at last.

William Gething-Lewis, aged 71, had been facing a trial for the last three and a half years but refused to return from his holiday home in Greece on the grounds that he was too ill to travel.

A judge at Swansea crown court ruled that he would be tried whether he was in court or not and today Gething-Lewis, of Broadmoor, was convicted of two offences.

He obtained £53,135 in pension credits and £1,509 in council tax relief between April, 2008 and June, 2013, to which he was not entitled.

After a short trial he was cleared of acting dishonestly but found guilty of failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions and Pembrokeshire County Council of changes in his circumstances.

Ieuan Rees, prosecuting, said Gething-Lewis remained in Greece and it was accepted that he was very unwell.

He said Gething-Lewis began receiving the extra benefits on becoming 60 and telling the authorities he had no income and savings of only £100.

But shortly afterwards he received an inheritance from his mother and began banking income from shares without telling anyone.

Mr Rees said Gething-Lewis had written to Judge Geraint Walters admitting his offending but saying he had not acted dishonestly.

He said he had been an alcoholic and unable to concentrate on his affairs, and the prosecution accepted his account.

Mr Rees said Gething-Lewis had already repaid Pembrokeshire County Council in full and £9,980 to the DWP.

Judge Walters said he would sentence Gething-Lewis after a Proceeds of Crime investigation had identified what assets were available for confiscation.

A warrant for the arrest of Gething-Lewis was withdrawn.

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