Former MP Jailed for Fraud
A former Labour MP, Jared O’Mara, has received an immediate custodial sentence of four years having been found guilty, following his trial, of six counts of fraud relating to false expenses claims for work that he never carried out in respect of jobs that did not even exist.
For further Press details please follow the link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-64577552
Suki Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors considers why the Sentencing Judge considered it appropriate to impose an immediate lengthy custodial sentence
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The Circumstances | Kangs Criminal Defence Lawyers
Jared O’Mara opted for a full Trial having been accused of submitting dishonest invoices to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. (‘IPSA’).
He submitted four claims totalling £19,400 relating to an organisation called ‘Confident About Autism South Yorkshire’, which did not exist.
Additionally, he provided his friend, John Woodliffe, with a fictitious contract of employment for the role of Constituency Support Officer, which position did not exist.
The total value of the fraud, including the fictitious salary to John Woodliffe amounted to £52,000.
Despite having elected for a Crown Court Trial, Jared O’Mara opted not to give evidence to the Jury which ultimately convicted him.
Judge’s Sentencing Remarks | Sentencing Guidelines | Kangs Fraud Offences Defence Solicitors
During his sentencing remarks, the Judge highlighted aggravating features, for which little mitigation could be offered, given that Jared O’Mara, despite continuing to deny all allegations and opting for an expensive and time-consuming Trial, failed to provide his version of events to the Jury.
The Judge regarded the wrongdoing as a high culpability Category (A) offence and, based on the financial values involved, fell into Category 3.
The Judge did not consider that Jared O’Mara’s autism reduced his culpability.
The Judge commented:
‘You knew perfectly what you were doing with this fraud, you were behaving perfectly rationally, if dishonestly, and you were using your autism diagnosis to extract money from IPSA to fund your cocaine and alcohol driven-lifestyle. It was deliberate, it was cynical and it was dishonest’
and that he had
‘Abused (his position) as a member of Parliament to commit these multiple frauds’.
The Sentencing Guidelines, which the Judge was required to consider, provided a starting point of three years imprisonment within a range of up to four years imprisonment.
Clearly, the Judge deemed that the number of aggravating features justified the sentence of four years imprisonment which he imposed, and in so doing, he stated:
‘You must have realised early on that you were wholly unsuited to the role, but you carried on regardless, you brazened it out, drawing a salary but doing little or no parliamentary work’ and noted that
‘Not the slightest degree of remorse’ had been shown for committing this fraud.
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