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Denis MacShane imprisoned for fraud

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Former MP and Government Minister, Denis MacShane has today been sentenced to six-months imprisonment for fraudulently claiming £13,000 in MPs expenses to which he was not entitled.

This sort of thing really gets on my nerves.

Mr MacShane will no doubt have been sentenced in accordance with the guidance for fraud committed by professionals.  The leading case is R. v Chaytor [2011] 2 Cr.App.R.(S.) 114 who you may not be surprised to hear was an MP who made up expense claims.  He received an 18-month prison sentence for stealing £50,000 from the taxpayer following a guilty plea.

These cases annoy me when we compare them to the sentences handed out to benefit fraudsters.  The leading case on benefit fraud is R. v Graham , R. v Whatley [2005] 1 Cr.App.R.(S.) 115 which considered two unconnected offenders together.  The facts are not terribly important save that Graham's fraud was false from the start where as Whatley initially made a genuine claim that later became false due to a change …