A former House of Commons clerk from Limehouse who faked MPs’ expenses claims to pay off his gambling debts has been jailed.
Andrew Gibson, a former enquiry officer in the House of Commons Fees Office, pleaded guilty to forging the signatures of three MPs on expense claim forms, including that of Tam Dalyell. He was jailed for nine months and ordered to pay £213 costs.
A second man, Toni Pomfret of Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to three counts of acquiring criminal property and was jailed for six months and also ordered to pay £213 costs.
The court heard that the two men, both of whom were keen gamblers and had accrued large personal debts, met while working at Royal Mail during the 1980s.
The court heard that Gibson had planned a “carefully executed fraud”, compiling false invoices in the names of three retiring MPs following the 2005 General Election and paying the money – totally £6,000 – into the bank account of Toni Pomfret, to whom he owed money.
Their crimes came to light during the recent Legg Inquiry into the alleged misuse of MPs’ expenses. At the request of the Audit Committee, former MPs were asked to examine past expense claims before they were published in the media. Mr Dalyell’s wife, who had been his secretary throughout his parliamentary career, noticed that a signature purporting to be her husband’s was not his and that the invoice was from a company, ‘TP Typing and Secretarial Services’, that he had never used. The House of Commons was alerted. Further inquiries then revealed that two other false expense claims had been submitted in the names of Linda Perham, former MP for Ilford North and Matthew Green, former MP for Ludlow, Shropshire, both of whom had also left the Commons.
The Metropolitan Police Economic and Specialist Crime Unit began an investigation and both men were arrested in January.