Ex-MP Jared O’Mara ‘tried to claim £30,000 in taxpayers’ money to fund cocaine habit’

A former MP tried to fraudulently claim up to £30,000 in taxpayers’ money to fund an “extensive cocaine habit”, prosecutors have said. Jared O’Mara, 41, who represented

the constituency of Sheffield Hallam from 2017 to 2019, is on trial for submitting “dishonest” invoices to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa). Jurors

at Leeds Crown Court heard that he made four claims to Ipsa between June and August 2019 from a “fictitious” organisation called Confident About Autism SY, and submitted two

invoices from his “chief of staff” Gareth Arnold for media and PR work that prosecutors say was never carried out. Mr O’Mara, who appeared in court by videolink on Monday,

is also accused of submitting a false contract of employment for his friend John Woodliff, “pretending” that Mr Woodliff worked for him as a constituency support officer. Mr

O’Mara is charged with eight counts of fraud by false representation, with Mr Arnold jointly charged with six of the offences, and Mr Woodliff jointly charged with

one.'Extensive cocaine habit' Prosecutor James Bourne-Arton said Ipsa - the organisation set up after the expenses scandal to regulate MPs’ staffing and business costs - did

not pay out any of the claims due to a lack of evidence that any of the work had been carried out. “The prosecution say that Jared O’Mara viewed Ipsa, and the taxpayers’

money that they administered, 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,” Mr Bourne-Arton

said.