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MEP is jailed for benefit fraud

Mote was elected as an MEP in 2004 as a member of UKIP
An MEP for South East England has been jailed for nine months for falsely claiming benefits of more than £65,000.


Former UKIP MEP Ashley Mote, 71, was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court after being found guilty of 21 offences following a four-week trial.

Mote will retain his seat in Europe because he would only have been disqualified if he had received a term of imprisonment of more than 12 months.

The father-of-two sat as an independent MEP after being thrown out of UKIP.

If this man had a shred of decency or integrity left, he'd resign.

During sentencing, Judge Richard Price told Mote: "To say that this case has ruined you is an understatement, it is a tragedy.

"You have worked amazingly hard as an MEP. Nevertheless, the charges of which you have been convicted can only be met by a custodial sentence, nothing else would be appropriate."

The court heard Mote had run a successful business which collapsed in 1992.

He had begun claiming income support and benefits but failed to notify the benefits agency when he began earning money again in 1996.

The offences, totalling £65,506, occurred between February 1996 and September 2002 while Mote was living in Langley, West Sussex.

The court found him guilty of eight charges of false accounting, eight of obtaining a money transfer by deception, four of evading liability and one of failing to notify a change of circumstances.

He was acquitted of a further four charges in the case brought by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Mote was elected as an MEP in 2004 as a member of UKIP, which threw him out of the party just days later when the party discovered the charges against him.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said he was "disgusted and horrified" at the "leniency" of the sentence.

Mr Farage said in a statement: "If he had been jailed for more than a year, the seat could have been reassigned to UKIP.

"As it is, the voters in the South East will see taxpayers' money going to a man serving a prison sentence, unable to represent them.

"I know it's far too much to expect, but if this man had a shred of decency or integrity left, he'd resign."

MEP Ashley Mote has been found guilty of 17 counts of fraud
An MEP for South East England has been convicted of 21 charges of fraud.
Ashley Mote, 71, had started claiming income support and benefits after his business collapsed.

But Portsmouth Crown Court heard he had failed to notify the authorities when he began earning money again and had received thousands in benefits.

The father of two was elected in 2004 as a member of UKIP which threw him out when they discovered the charges. He then served as an independent MEP.

Mote was found guilty of eight charges of false accounting, eight of obtaining a money transfer by deception, four of evading liability and one of failing to notify a change of circumstances.

The MEP for south east England was acquitted of a further four charges in the case brought by the Department of Work and Pensions.

The four-week trial heard Mote ran a successful business which collapsed during the exchange rate mechanism crisis on Black Wednesday in 1992.

He then began to claim income support, housing benefits and council tax benefits but failed to notify the benefits agency when he began earning money through various enterprises including spread betting on currency markets.

Yet between February 1996 and September 2002 he received £73,000 in benefits.

The court heard he used this money to pay off credit card debts which he had run up funding an "extravagant lifestyle" such as restaurant dinners, private health care and holidays to the US, France and the Caribbean.

Responding to the verdict, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said in a statement: "We are pleased that finally justice has been done.

"Mr Mote lied to UKIP on his application form to be an MEP candidate. "If we had discovered just 48 hours earlier that this case was pending he would never have been elected an MEP.

"Subsequent to our discovering the truth Mr Mote was immediately removed from the party and never took his seat as a UKIP MEP.

"UKIP and the voters of the south east have been defrauded for three years by Mr Mote."

A UKIP spokeswoman said the party would be contacting the European Parliament on Monday to clarify whether Mote now faces an automatic ban as an MEP after being found guilty of a criminal offence.

She said: "We want him disqualified as an MEP."

====================


On 17 August 2007 Mote was found guilty by a jury of 21 charges of deception by falsely claiming £65,506 in benefits, and acquitted of a further four charges. Judge Richard Price warned him to expect a custodial sentence, but allowed bail on condition that Mote surrendered his British and diplomatic passports, as well as providing £50,000 in sureties.

He was sentenced on 31 August to nine months imprisonment to be served in Ford open prison, West Sussex. During sentencing, Judge Price said that Mote, "a truly dishonest man", had executed a "carefully planned scheme of dishonesty" and had taken "a great deal of trouble to cover [his] tracks, adding that "to say that this case has ruined you is an understatement, it is a tragedy." Mote's defence counsel described his client as a Walter Mitty character and admitted that the sentence was a "massive fall from grace". Mote applied for the third time to the CFI for relief against the impending imprisonment, highlighting the urgent nature of his request. This was also rejected by the CFI on 22 November 2007.

Reacting to the sentence, the leader of the UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage, said he was "disgusted and horrified" at the leniency of the sentence. If Mote had been jailed for more than one year, he would have lost his seat in the European Parliament, which could have been reassigned to another representative. Farage added that if "Mote had a shred of integrity left, he'd resign."

 

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