Former British MP Appears in Court on Fraud Charges

By Louis Makiello, Epoch Times
September 19, 2011 Updated: September 19, 2011

Former Labor politician Margaret Moran broke down in tears as she appeared in court on Monday charged with making £80,000 (US$ 125,550) worth of fraudulent parliamentary expenses claims.

She faces 15 charges of false accounting and six for forgery on claims made between November 2004 and August 2008. It is also alleged that she submitted false invoices.

British members of Parliament are allowed to claim compensation from the state for expenses "wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred for the performance of a Member’s parliamentary duties." This includes the cost of travel to parliament in London, the cost of maintaining an office, and the cost of overnight stays in London—which in many cases means having a second home in London.

In 2009, it emerged that many MPs had been using the system to obtain money they weren’t entitled to, pay for home improvements, make phantom mortgage payments, and in one case, build a duck pond. It was a major political scandal at the time.

So far, 10 MPs have been jailed for expenses fraud. Moran is the last outstanding case although police say they are still investigating a small number of politicians.

The prosecution says that Moran, ex-MP for Luton South, near London, fraudulently claimed £22,500 to repair dry rot at her second home in London, £14,805 for replacing a boiler, pipe work, and central heating, £2,678 for a new carpet and £4,756 for replacing kitchen units. It is alleged that the dry rot was in fact at her home in Southampton, more than 100 miles away from London.

Appearing in Westminster Crown Court, Moran only spoke to confirm her name and date of birth. She was remanded on unconditional bail and will appear again on October 28th.