A former British MP is the fourth politician in less than three months to be convicted for claiming bogus expenses in a scandal that’s trying Britons’ patience with their parliamentarians. Jim Devine, 57, was found guilty of two counts of false accounting. A London court ruled on Feb. 10 that he’d forged receipts for over $13,000 in printing and cleaning costs he’d never incurred.
In an interview with Channel 4 earlier this month, Devine denied any wrongdoing. He said he’d simply been “moving money from communications to the staffing budget”—a move that, he claimed at his trial, another MP had told him, with a “nod and a wink,” was acceptable. Devine also tried to deflect blame by accusing his former office manager of the duplicity—the same woman to whom a tribunal awarded $55,000 last October after deciding he had harassed her out of a job. Despite Devine’s efforts, prosecutor Peter Wright was able to show he had committed “fraud on the public purse.” He’s now facing up to seven years in prison. Former MPs Eric Illsley and David Chaytor are serving jail time for similar convictions, while lawmaker John Taylor is awaiting sentencing.