In the Media

Peers jailed for expenses fraud ordered to pay back ?188,000

PUBLISHED September 26, 2012

Lord John Taylor of Warwick cheated the taxpayer of £11,000 by lying about where he lived while Lord Hanningfield was found of guilty of nearly £14,000-worth of expenses fraud.

Today Mr Justice Saunders made an order for the two men to repay tens of thousands pounds more than they were convicted of claiming under the 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act.

According to the legislation prosecutors are entitled to include any property obtained in the six years before the two men were charged as resulting from criminal activity.

The burden is then on the defendants to prove otherwise.

Prosecutor Helen Law told Southwark Crown Court former barrister Lord Taylor had benefited, as a result, to the tune of £791,609, but had just £175,350 left for the courts to recover.

Mr Justice Saunders reduced the amount for repayment to £151,038 after Mohammed Khamisa QC successfully argued for around £24,000 already repaid to be deducted.

Making the order the judge said: 'I will allow six month to pay and the period of imprisonment in default, and I certainly hope it never comes to that, will be two years and three months.'

Lord Hanningfield, a 72-year-old former pig farmer, whose given name is Paul White, was heard to have netted £67,413 in total.

He was ordered to pay pack £37,158.50 within six months or face 15 months behind bars.

Both men were jailed last year for 12 months after being convicted following their trials last year, but released after serving around a quarter of their sentences.

Lord Taylor, 60, registered a house in Oxford as his main residence, enabling him to claim expenses for travel to-and-from London, and for overnight stays in the capital.

In reality the property belonged to his nephew's partner, and Lord Taylor - who actually lived in Ealing, West London - had never even stayed there.

Mr Justice Saunders told him he was guilty of a 'protracted course of dishonesty.'

Lord Hanningfield had claimed £13,379 from the House of Lords for hotel stays in London - despite being chauffeured back to his bungalow in West Hanningfield in an Essex County Council-funded car.

He also falsely claimed £382 for first-class rail journeys he never took and £147 on petrol for trips between Chelmsford train station and his home to hide his fraudulent accommodation claims.

Lord Taylor, whose full name John David Beckett Taylor, of Ealing, West London, denied six charges of false accounting, on March 31, July 3 and October 31 2006 and April 5, July 3 and October 31, 2007. He was convicted on all six counts by majority verdicts of 11 to one.

Lord Hanningfield, of West Hanningfield, Chelmsford, Essex, was convicted of six counts of false accounting.