A MAN has admitted stealing more than £9,000 from Hywel Dda University Health Board after not reporting being paid for work he didn’t do during the Covid pandemic.

Aaron Williams, who was 18 at the time, was hired as a hotel services assistant at Prince Philip Hospital as part of the health board’s coronavirus pandemic response. He was to be employed on a part-time contract between March 16, 2021, and June 13, 2021.

Williams completed his online training before the start of his employment and the relevant forms were sent to the payroll department, prosecutor Alycia Carpanini told Swansea Crown Court. However, he wasn’t allocated any shifts.

It was discovered in November of that year, when time sheets were being checked, that Williams had been paid despite never having being given any work, and his contract had not been ended on June 13 – and was in fact still ongoing. His contract was terminated on December 9.

Williams received £9,013.20 between March 16 and November 30, 2021.

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Ms Carpanini said that Williams had logged on to check his pay slips on April 30 and May 19.

“The defendant was not entitled to this pay and made no effort to contact the health board,” she said.

“The health board do realise that his contract was only between March and June and it was due to an error his contract was not terminated in June.”

The court heard that Williams initially said he had not checked his bank account during that period to see if he had been paid by the health board, but in a second police interview admitted checking his bank balance when taking money out – however he said he thought the money had came from his mother or “birthday money”.

Ms Carpanini said that Williams, who is now 21 and has no previous convictions, had been paying back the money, with £7,900 currently outstanding.

He pleaded not guilty to theft at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court, but then admitted the offence on January 8 at Swansea Crown Court.

“The greatest mitigation is the defendant offering repayments,” said Matthew Murphy, defending.

“It is clear from the facts of the case that there is no planning from the defendant, but a failure to report these payments were being made to him when they shouldn’t have been.

“There’s somewhat of a lack of understanding from the defendant, perhaps due to his age, that he has committed an offence. When it has been fully explained to him that his actions were an offence, he has entered a guilty plea.

“The defendant is fearful a conviction of this nature will cause his employers some concern and future employers some concern.

“It will be a dark mark upon his character and will affect his future employability.”

Williams, of Erw Terrace in Burry Port, was sentenced to a 12-month community order, as part of which he must complete 120 hours of unpaid work. A formal compensation order was made directing Williams to repay the remaining £7,900 to the health board.