Wife of charity tax cheat found guilty of fraud

Elizabeth Lewis convicted at Cardiff Crown Court after her husband set up a charity to fraudulently claim Gift Aid totalling £855,611

Elizabeth Lewis
Elizabeth Lewis

A tax fraud investigator whose husband used a charity he set up to cheat HM Revenue & Customs out of more than £885,000 has been found guilty of fraud.

Elizabeth Lewis, 38, from Porth, Rhondda Cynon Taf, had denied being involved in the scam with her husband, Mark Scott Lewis, but a jury at Cardiff Crown Court found her guilty of all four charges on Wednesday.

Mark Lewis had pleaded guilty at the same court in June to fraud charges. He used a charity called the Welsh Independent School of Climbing and Mountaineering, set up to help disadvantaged young people, to defraud HM Revenue & Customs of Gift Aid totalling £885,611.

He set up an elaborate web of 27 different companies. Prosecutors said he used these to launder the money he defrauded.

His wife appeared in court on charges of possessing, using or converting criminal property. Prosecutors said she must have known that her husband was cheating HMRC, because the proceeds of the fraud went into their joint accounts and were used to buy properties she now rents out.

The fraud came to light after the Charity Commission began investigating the charity in 2010.

The case has been adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be prepared. Both were granted bail and will be sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on 1 November.

Jenna Pudelek

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