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October 1, 2010 5:59 am
A former House of Commons official has been jailed after admitting drawing up fake expense claims totalling almost £6,000 ($9,400).
Andrew Gibson, who was a budget officer in the Parliamentary Fees Office until earlier this year, pleaded guilty to three counts of obtaining money transfers by deception and was jailed for nine months.
He admitted drawing up false invoices in the names of three former MPs who retired after the 2005 general election.
The Southwark Crown Court heard that the money was then paid into the bank account of his friend Toni Pomfret who was also jailed for six months after admitting three counts of acquiring criminal property.
The court heard on Thursday that Mr Gibson’s fraud was uncovered last year after former MP Tam Dalyell was presented with a bundle of expense claims submitted between 2004 and 2005 following Sir Thomas Legg’s inquiry into MPs expenses.
Mr Dalyell, who served as an MP for 40 years, did not recognise one of the expense claims and an investigation was launched.
The court heard that Mr Gibson, who owed money to Mr Pomfret, created the false claims for typing and secretarial services totalling £5,875 in the names of Mr Dalyell and two other MPs, Linda Perham and Matthew Green, who all retired from the Commons in 2005.
During the sentencing, Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC told Mr Gibson his actions were “a serious breach of trust” which involved “identity fraud and forgery” and resulted “in a fraud on the public purse”.
“These were planned and carefully executed frauds,” he said.
Rachel Bright, representing Mr Gibson, told the court her client felt “deep shame” for his conduct.
Jamie Sawyer, lawyer for Mr Pomfret, told the court his client was of good character but he had “made a very poor decision in 2005”.
Mr Gibson and Mr Pomfret were told they will serve half of their sentences in prison.
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