Ex-Politician Jailed for Fraud Worth £52,000 To Pay Off His Cocaine Debt

Disgraced former UK MP Jared O'Mara was found guilty of claiming false expenses while serving as the MP for Sheffield Hallam in order to fund a 5-gram-a-day drug addiction.
Max Daly
London, GB
PHOTO: South Yorkshire Police

A former Labour MP has been jailed for four years for faking expense claims to fund a cocaine habit. 

Jared O’Mara, an MP for Sheffield Hallam from 2017 to 2019, was convicted of six counts of fraud after he tried to claim £52,000 of taxpayers’ money to help fund what prosecutors said was “an extensive cocaine habit”. 


During his trial at Leeds Crown Court it was said the former MP, 41, regularly snorted five grams a day, drank a litre of vodka during a TV interview and was thousands of pounds in debt to his drug dealer. A text message sent from his co-defendant Gareth Arnold, who admitted assisting with the false claims,  to a friend about O’Mara sent in 2019 said: “He’s a few k in debt with a dealer.” His friend replied: “That’s a very dangerous game that. He wants to be careful no bad lads come for him. He’s on 80k a year ffs.”

O’Mara, a journalism graduate who was born in Sheffield, was jailed on Wednesday while Arnold received 15 months suspended for two years for fraud. The offences only came to light when Arnold had an argument with O’Mara and went to the police in 2019. 

One of the false expenses claims he made was for a “fictitious” organisation called Confident About Autism South Yorkshire, for which he used the postcode for a local McDonalds as the business address.  

O’Mara ousted Nick Clegg, the former Deputy Prime Minister turned Meta’s President of Global Affairs, at the 2017 general election. O’Mara was rarely at his constituency office in Sheffield. 

Within months of being elected he was kicked off an MP’s women and equalities select committee after he referred to gay men as "poofters" and "fudge packers" and following a series of more blunders, was suspended from the Labour Party later that year. In 2018, despite being reinstated, he decided to become an independent candidate.  

Nick Price, head of Special Crime and Counter Terrorism at the CPS, said: “These claims for taxpayers’ money were blatantly false and O'Mara and Arnold knew that full well. 

“O’Mara invented a fictional autism charity and then proceeded to submit fake invoices, hoping they would slip through as legitimate claims.

“While serving as a member of parliament, O’Mara viewed taxpayers’ money as a source of income that was his to claim and use as he wished.”