Former MP Jared O'Mara guilty of six counts of expenses fraud to fund his cocaine habit

8 February 2023, 14:33 | Updated: 8 February 2023, 22:11

Jared O'Mara
Jared O'Mara. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Former Labour MP Jared O'Mara has been found guilty of six counts of fraud over expenses claims made while he was in office.

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Jared O'Mara, 41, who represented the constituency of Sheffield Hallam from 2017 to 2019, was on trial at Leeds Crown Court for submitting fake invoices to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) to fund a cocaine habit.

He was convicted on Wednesday of six counts of fraud by false representation.

Leeds Crown Court heard that he made four claims for a total of £19,400 from a "fictitious" organisation called Confident About Autism South Yorkshire, which jurors were told referred to his friend, John Woodliff.

O'Mara also submitted a false contract of employment for Woodliff, "pretending" he worked as a constituency support officer.

Read more: Former Labour MP in ‘dire need of cash’ tried to claim £30k in taxpayers’ money to fund ‘extensive cocaine habit’

ared O'Mara stepped down as Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam after a string of controversies in 2019.
ared O'Mara stepped down as Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam after a string of controversies in 2019. Picture: Alamy

Financial investigations revealed he was "living to or beyond his means” and “in dire need of cash" at the time of the claims.

Prosecutor James Bourne-Arton previously told the court that O’Mara saw “taxpayers' money as a source of income that was his to claim and use as he wished, not least in the enjoyment of his extensive cocaine habit”.

The ex-MP was found not guilty of two fraud charges over invoices from another friend, Gareth Arnold, for media and PR work that prosecutors had claimed was never carried out.

But he was convicted of an offence of fraud after emailing Ipsa in February 2020, falsely claiming the police investigation into him had been completed and that he was entitled to be paid the two invoices relating to Arnold, which totalled £4,650.

Arnold, who became O'Mara's chief of staff in June 2019, was found guilty of three fraud charges, and cleared of three.

Woodliff was found not guilty of one offence of fraud.

O'Mara and Arnold will be sentenced at the same court on Thursday.