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British lord found guilty of expense fraud

By the CNN Wire Staff
Lord Taylor of Warwick is the first parliamentarian to be tried and found guilty of falsifying expenses.
Lord Taylor of Warwick is the first parliamentarian to be tried and found guilty of falsifying expenses.
  • Taylor found guilty of 11,000 pounds in false expenses
  • He is the first parliamentarian tried and found guilty in the scandal
  • Lawmakers from all major parties have been swept up in the scandal

London (CNN) -- A member of Britain's House of Lords was found guilty Tuesday of falsifying expenses, marking a new turn in the expense scandal that has rocked Parliament.

Lord Taylor of Warwick is the first parliamentarian to be tried and found guilty in the scandal. Two others, David Chaytor and Eric Ilsley, admitted to falsifying expenses.

Other former parliamentarians face charges.

Taylor, a Conservative whose full name is John David Beckett Taylor, was accused of faking expenses of more than 11,000 pounds ($17,500 U.S.). Among the allegations made by prosecutors was that Taylor claimed that his main residence was in Oxford and that he claimed travel expenses to London while in fact he lived in West London.

"No one could sincerely believe that a home in which they had no financial interest, had never lived in and had scarcely visited could count as their main residence, or that it was permissible to claim for driving between Oxford and Parliament when they had not done so," said prosecutor Stephen O'Doherty, in quotes reported by Britain's Press Association.

"Today, a jury has seen through his dishonesty by finding him guilty of theft by false accounting. He will now face the consequences of his actions."

Taylor's attorney Eddie Tang said, "Lord Taylor has devoted 20 years of his life to public service. He is clearly devastated about the jury's verdict." Tang said Taylor asks for privacy and has "nothing further to add at this stage," the PA reported.

The scandal first emerged in the spring of 2009 when The Daily Telegraph newspaper published expense claims in question. Heavily redacted versions of the claims were scheduled to be made public in June, but the Telegraph obtained them weeks early and printed them in full.

The claims caused widespread public outrage because some were deemed excessive or were for items that seemingly had no connection to the lawmakers' duties.

The Telegraph detailed thousands of dollars worth of interest on mortgages that had already been paid or that didn't exist, money spent to clean a moat on a country estate, and more than $1,000 spent on a small house for ducks.

Some lawmakers claimed the maximum monthly allowance for food, one claimed for dog food and one claimed for Christmas decorations. The scandal snared lawmakers from all major parties in Parliament.

Many lawmakers defended their claims as being within the rules. But even where that was the case, the public criticized lawmakers for greed and for taking advantage.