Jared O’Mara: Former Labour MP appears in court to deny fraud charges

·1 min read
Jared O’Mara (Parliament)
Jared O’Mara (Parliament)

A former Labour MP has pleaded not guilty to making false expense claims worth almost £30,000.

Jared O'Mara is accused of submitting fraudulent invoices totalling £28,700 to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

The 39-year-old, who was member for Sheffield Hallam from 2017 to 2019, appeared at the city’s magistrates court via video link on Friday.

He pleaded not guilty to seven counts of fraud and another charge under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Appearing alongside him, his former aide Gareth Arnold, 28, denied six counts of fraud, while a third man, John Woodliff, 42, pleaded not guilty to a single charge under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The court was told that the claims – made between October 2018 and February 2020 – relate to "services purported to have been provided by Gareth Arnold", and to "services purported to have been provided by Confident About Autism South Yorkshire".

District judge Paul Goldspring said the case was so serious it would need to be heard by a crown court judge at a later date.

Mr O'Mara caused considerable shock when he beat former Lib Dem leader Sir Nick Clegg to win the Sheffield Hallam seat at the 2017 general election.

He later left the party after it was revealed he had made a series of racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments in the years before becoming a politician. He stayed in office as an independent MP but did not contest the 2019 general election.

Police began investigating claims of fraud in August of that year.

O’Mara, of Walker Close, Sheffield, Arnold of School Lane, Dronfield, and Woodliff, of Hesley Road, Sheffield, will now appear at Sheffield Crown Court on 25 October. All three were bailed.

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