Ex-Lawmaker Devine Convicted of Expense Fraud

(Corrects spelling of Illsley’s first name in fourth paragraph in story published Feb. 10)

Former U.K. lawmaker Jim Devine was convicted of fraudulently claiming almost 9,000 pounds ($14,400) in expense reimbursement by a London jury.

“Submitting a false invoice is plainly dishonest, regardless of why it has been done or who has done it,” Simon Clements of the Crown Prosecution Service said in an e-mailed statement. “We say there is no excuse for such conduct and, with today’s conviction, it is clear the jury agreed.”

Devine, 57, was convicted on two counts by a jury at Southwark Crown Court. Judge John Saunders will sentence Devine, who has denied all wrongdoing, at a later date, according to Metropolitan Police. A former Labour party lawmaker, Devine is the first elected representative to stand trial for expenses fraud since the Daily Telegraph newspaper began to publish stories about lawmakers’ claims in 2009.

Two other former Labour party members of parliament, David Chaytor and Eric Illsley, have pleaded guilty to expense fraud. Last month John Taylor, a member of Britain’s unelected second chamber, the House of Lords, was convicted of similar charges. Taylor was formerly affiliated with the Conservative Party.

Prosecutors alleged during the trial that Devine supplied false invoices to fraudulently claim 3,240 pounds for phony cleaning services and 5,505 pounds for fake bills from a printing company in 2008 and 2009.

While the companies on the invoices were real, the information on them was “a fiction,” prosecutor Peter Wright told the court on Feb. 2. “No such services were provided.” They were “a device to raise substantial sums of public money to which he was not entitled.”

To contact the reporter on this story: James Lumley in London at jlumley1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

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