'Depressed' ex-MP Margaret Moran fiddled £53,000 in expenses... but she can't be punished

  • Jury rules former Luton South MP claimed for boilers which did not exist and 'flipped' home to claim almost annual limit in single bill
  • Total claims were bigger than any other fraud unearthed in MPs' expenses scandal

By Rebecca Evans

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Former MP Margaret Moran, one of the last politicians investigated over the scandal, stood down at the 2010 general election

Former MP Margaret Moran, one of the last politicians investigated over the scandal, stood down at the 2010 general election


Disgraced former Labour MP Margaret Moran cheated the taxpayer out of £53,000 in one of the worst cases of fraud to emerge from the parliamentary expenses scandal, a jury found yesterday.

But despite the damning verdict, 57-year-old Moran will not be punished after a judge ruled she was too depressed to stand trial.

As a consequence, the former MP for Luton South will not even receive a criminal record although the jury in the rare ‘trial of issue’ ruled that she had committed 21 counts of fraud.

Last night, anti-sleaze campaigners reacted with astonishment to the news that Moran will not be jailed. It is also unclear whether any steps can be taken to reimburse the public purse.

Moran is the fifth MP to face criminal proceedings for abusing parliamentary allowances.

Between April 2004 and August 2008 she submitted fraudulent claims of around £60,000 – more than double that of any of the other four MPs who have been tried – of which she received more than £53,000.

Moran did not have to appear at Southwark Crown Court nor enter a plea to the 15 charges of false accounting and six of using false information after a judge ruled her ‘severe depressive disorder’ meant she was unable to defend herself. The charges included submitting ‘bogus’ invoices for more than £22,000 for goods and services which did not exist.

The jury found that the case against ‘broken woman’ Moran, who earned a £64,766 salary as an MP, was ‘proved’.

 

Mr Justice Saunders said he cannot ‘punish her as such’ through a prison sentence or fine. Instead, he can give her a hospital order, supervision order or absolute discharge. He adjourned his decision but indicated a supervision order is most likely. Meanwhile, Moran is being treated by psychiatrists at home in Southampton.

Last night former anti-sleaze MP Martin Bell said: ‘I am lost for words. What she did was an appalling abuse of public trust. I am amazed that so far only four MPs have ended up in jail. She should count herself very lucky that she is not the fifth.’

Moran's fraudulent claims
Ms Moran's appearance has changed dramatically since the 2010 election and she was found unfit to stand trial due to mental health issues

Ms Moran's appearance has changed dramatically since the 2010 election and she was found unfit to stand trial due to mental health issues

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, added: ‘The verdict does not feel like justice done.’

The court heard how Moran, an MP from 1997 until her resignation in 2010, ‘abused’ the system of claiming parliamentary expenses, which was largely based on trust.

Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, said MPs were permitted to receive expenses for a designated second home, but she had twice swapped the designation of her second home ‘in a process known as flipping’.

She had exploited the system to ‘kit out’ homes in London, Luton and Southampton.

In 2006 she submitted a claim for £4,756.40 for replacement kitchen units for her second home, which was accompanied by an invoice from a firm called Elite Builders that was a ‘complete forgery’. A year later, she submitted invoices for £14,805 and £1,823 for work in the name of Mandere Construction, but the bills were ‘utterly false’.

In 2008, she ‘flipped’ her designated home to Southampton, which belonged to her then fiancé and now husband Michael Booker.

She submitted false bills for £22,500 of building work at this property, including dry rot repairs, which was for work completed in the previous financial year, when she had already exhausted her parliamentary allowance, and when her designated second home was in Luton.

 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

So this excuse for a human being gets the get out of jail free card because she is so say ill! In an article just next to this one, we see that the Great train robbers got 30 years for robbing the Queens Royal Mail train and each share came to 140k? She lies and acts the grand untouchable because she is a member of the elite, whilst taking money (53,000k that we know about), that belongs to every man woman and child in the UK. This woman, and all the rest of them who feel entitled and empowered to help themselves to your money should be given short shrift and banged up for as long as is legal.

Click to rate     Rating   157

If I owed a company money, by law, the balifs would sequestrate goods to the value of my debt regardless of my depressed state. This person owes money to the nation and yet the law says it is powerless to act. This is over and above the act of fraud she used to gain this money which is a criminal act and yet the law says it is powerless to act.The prosecution and the Judge are paid from the public purse, in this case, to protect the public purse and yet they say they can't, is it any wonder that the average Joe has lost their faith in the Justice system?

Click to rate     Rating   130

And the powers that be, expect we the public to, respect and comply with the laws of this land!! Every day we hear of the warped justice handed down. It is now time that sentencing was handed over to the jury,and judges were only required to adjudicate on the interpretation of the law.

Click to rate     Rating   109

Nothing wrong with her...its disgusting, she should have been jailed..

Click to rate     Rating   123

The poor woman clearly isn't well and deserves to be given a chance to recover. The judge will have seen all her medical reports and knows best. We shouldn't be demanding she goes to jail just to make us feel better...where's your humanity? - Raymond , Belfast, 14/11/2012 00:17,,,,,,,,,,,, atos ticked that out of most people.

Click to rate     Rating   8

Moran Depressed, i don't think so, GREED thats what it is and she should be punished, what the hell is wrong with this country if that was anyone else who owed or fiddled lets say £200 for arguments sake they would be in court even if they did suffer with depression or any other ailment for gods sake get a grip, and as for you moran pay back the money you owe.

Click to rate     Rating   96

And an SAS soldier get 18 months for possessing a weapon although he had suffered memory loss and didn't bring it into the country himself? Will she be made to pay the money back?

Click to rate     Rating   106

Isn't it strange that she has now taken to wearing strange glasses with a neck string. The beret etc is all for effect and she has fooled no one except the courts.

Click to rate     Rating   108

Hhmmm. So basically they have set a precedent; one can steal from one's employer (blatantly) and if finally caught just change your hairstyle & clothes, say you're depressed and you get off scott free! Brilliant. Presumably this also works for those who steal benefits (well, what else is the above but stealing from the tax payer?) Tomorrow's headline: Gaols close due to lack of demand.

Click to rate     Rating   100

She should be nominated for an Oscar, what a performance! This totally dishonest and discredited woman only confirms the resentment and distrust felt by many towards MPs.

Click to rate     Rating   119

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