Two brothers sentenced for trying to defraud the Child Maintenance Group
A man has been jailed after he sent his brother to do a DNA test in his place so he could avoid paying maintenance for two of his children.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that Gary Lewis, 25, and his brother Robert Lewis, 24, both from Potternewton in Leeds, conspired together so that Gary Lewis would not have to pay maintenance.
The mothers of the two children had both independently applied to the Child Maintenance Group (formerly the Child Support Agency) to get financial assistance. They both named Gary Lewis as the father.
The Child Maintenance Group (CMG) asked Gary Lewis to do a DNA test to determine if he was the parent or not. But instead of going himself, he sent his brother Robert along to the test centre at Alwoodley Medical Centre in Leeds.
When Robert's sample, that was thought to be from Gary, was analysed, it showed him not to be the father. But it indicated that there was a high probability that the donor was related to the children.
The mothers were told of the result of the test but were both adamant that Gary Lewis was the father of their children. A criminal investigation was begun.
The sample on the DNA database was linked to Robert Lewis and on 20 November 2019, both brothers were arrested. They were interviewed under caution but gave a ‘no comment’ interview.
Gary Lewis was given the opportunity to provide a further DNA sample for the Child Maintenance Group but he declined. The CMG then issued him with a Presumption of Paternity Notice in respect of both children.
On 4 February 2022, at Leeds Crown Court, both men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud. On 18 March 2022, at Leeds Crown Court, Gary Lewis was jailed for 15 months. Robert Lewis was given a nine month jail term, suspended for 18 months.
He must also do 80 hours of unpaid work and ten days of a rehabilitation activity.
The case was dealt with by the Fraud Unit of CPS Mersey Cheshire. Senior Crown Prosecutor Simon Tunnicliffe said: “If Gary and Robert Lewis had succeeded in their scam, Gary would have evaded financial liability for his children but, worse in many ways, both children would not know who their father was. And Gary Lewis was never likely to come forward and admit this at a later date as he would then be at risk of a criminal conviction.
“These women simply wanted the father of their children to support their upbringing but Gary Lewis clearly had no intention of doing that. So he and his brother went to great lengths to avoid any involvement.
“But in doing so they have been sentenced for a criminal offence and Gary Lewis is now behind bars.
“It’s hard to see how either of these men ever thought they could get away with this. The financial support of children is essential and the Child Maintenance Group works with the Crown Prosecution Service to bring to justice those who try to avoid it.”