EX-LABOUR MP Jared O'Mara has been jailed for four years after making fraudulent expenses claims to fund his cocaine habit.
The former Sheffield Hallam MP appeared at Leeds Crown Court for sentencing after he was found guilty of fraud by false representation.
The 41-year-old was found guilty on six counts of fraud after after trying to claim around £52,000 of taxpayers’ money.
He is said to have been taking what was described in court as “prodigious quantities” of cocaine – and in debt to drug dealers.
Leeds Crown Court heard he made four claims for a total of £19,400 from a "fictitious" organisation called Confident About Autism South Yorkshire.
Prosecutor James Bourne-Arton told the court the fraud was not a victimless crime becauseit had an impact on other MPs: "it undermines public trust and confidence in them".
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O'Mara, who once represented the constituency of Sheffield Hallam from 2017 to 2019, went on trial for submitting fake invoices to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) between June and August 2019.
The disgraced former MP was found to have submitted a false contract of employment for his friend John Woodliff – claiming he worked as a constituency support officer.
However Mr Woodliff was cleared by the jury of having any role in the fraud.
The defendant was convicted of fraud after he emailed Ipsa in February 2020 and falsely claimed the police investigation into him had been completed.
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He claimed he was entitled to be paid the two invoices relating to his friend Gareth Arnold, which totalled £4,650.
However O'Mara was found not guilty of two fraud charges involving other invoices from Arnold – for media work prosecutors tried to argue was never carried out.
Mark Kelly KC, defending O’Mara, told the court that his client expressed remorse: "for his failure to resign in October 2017" when controversial comments he made online before becoming an MP were revealed.
"When he felt that he was being hounded by the media, whether that is the case or not, he felt under pressure from the media for certain circumstances that had come to light.
He told the court O’Mara was "an inadequate individual to cope with the stresses and strains of public life" and "resorted to taking drugs, alcohol and distancing himself in many respects from those that were around him.
"These circumstances were very difficult circumstances for him to cope with, with his particular disabilities."
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