Valley man charged with fraud over 'incurable brain tumour' claim
11:09am Friday 30th August 2013 in News
A Glanaman man accused of conning £28,000 out of friends and neighbours by claiming to have a deadly brain tumour has appeared before magistrates.
Gareth Wyn Francis, of 2 Maes Grenig, was at the centre of a massive fundraising drive in the village after he announced that he was suffering from the disease in the summer of 2011.
Francis, now 30, told supporters he required specialist treatment only available privately and costing £28,000, leading to numerous events aimed at raising the necessary funds to cover his care.
It has since been claimed that Francis, who gave his address in court as 115 Clos Cilsaig in Dafen, invented having the illness.
Balding Francis appeared before Llanelli magistrates in jeans, a shirt-sleeved check shirt and with close-cropped hair, where he faced five charges of committing fraud between June 5, 2011, and August 31, 2012.
He was charged with defrauding Michael Morgan of the Nemo Group, Pastor John Ifion Watkins of Ammanford ABC, Melanie Coombes of All-Star Charity Fundraisers, Janet Rainey, Margaret Jenkins, and “a number of unknown members of the public”, all of whom had donated money to his appeal.
Prosecutor Gerald Neave told the court: “These charges speak for themselves.”
Mr Neave alleged: “He fraudulently obtained money to the tune of £28,000 by pretending he was suffering from an incurable brain tumour that required private treatment.
“The persons named in the charge were all duped into providing charitable donations.”
Mr Neave informed the court that, if found guilty, Francis would face a minimum of 26 weeks in jail.
Magistrates entered formal not guilty pleas to all charges when Francis informed the court he would enter no pleas at the hearing.
Following advice from Mr Neave and defence solicitor Clare Sherwood magistrates agreed to send the case to the crown court for trial.
“We are declining jurisdiction,” they told Francis.
Francis will now appear at Swansea crown court on Friday, September 9.