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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Peter (your wish is my command) Bone MP and Hales exclusive brethren 'friend'

An Article in today's Times by Andrew Norfolk, Chief Investigative Reporter

MP is quizzed over £100,000 benefits fraud

A Conservative MP who demands a “zero-tolerance” approach to criminals is under police investigation over an alleged £100,000 benefits fraud linked to his mother-in-law’s finances.
Peter Bone, the Eurosceptic MP for Wellingborough, has been questioned under caution by detectives as part of a year-long inquiry into whether the elderly woman’s assets were deliberately concealed during her time in a care home, The Times can reveal. Documents were seized when the MP’s constituency home was raided by police last year.

A file on the case has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), whose special crime division is considering whether to approve charges.

The fraud investigation is understood to have been triggered by concerns that public money was wrongly used to fund the residential care of Mr Bone’s mother-in-law, Dorothy Sweeney, 81. For the past seven years she has lived at a privately owned home for the elderly in Northamptonshire. For at least part of that time some of her care home fees were paid by Northamptonshire County Council because she appeared to have insufficient assets to fund her own placement.

Fraud inquiries into Mr Bone, 61, a chartered accountant, are understood to have begun when police were contacted by the Conservative-led local authority over concerns that its social services staff may have been misled about Mrs Sweeney’s finances and thus her entitlement to receive subsidised care.

There is no suggestion that she acted improperly in any way, but anyone with assets of more than £23,250 is expected to pay their own care home fees. The Times has established that a property owned by Mr Bone’s mother-in-law was sold shortly before she moved into the Northamptonshire home.

The county council is understood to believe that the alleged failure to disclose some of Mrs Sweeney’s assets, including the money raised from the property sale, entitles it to reclaim money for fees that it has already paid. The private care home has annual charges of up to £26,520 per resident.

Letters are thought to have been exchanged between the council’s lawyers and the MP before police were called in. A civil action was also launched by the county council and some money is thought to have been paid back, but there is understood to be an alleged shortfall of almost £100,000.

Former neighbours of the MP and his wife, Jennie, said that the couple’s home in Rushden, near Wellingborough, was raided during the first half of 2013. Documents, files and other items were seen being removed by police from the property.

Northamptonshire Police said yesterday: “A 61-year-old man was formally interviewed under caution in April 2013 in connection with alleged fraud offences. A police file was submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service in November 2013 and we await their decision.”

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said that for legal reasons the authority was “not able to comment on this matter”. The CPS said that it would reach a decision on the case “as soon as is practicable”.

Mr Bone accepted last night that there was “a dispute regarding part of the care home fees”. He insisted that the fees for some of the years during which Mrs Sweeney has been at the home were paid by his wife and that in other years “we paid substantial funds towards the care home fees”.

He also said that Mrs Bone had applied to strike out the council’s civil claim. “It is absolutely untrue that any of Mrs Sweeney’s assets were hidden. They were all declared on the appropriate forms to the county council and this has never been challenged. There is no shortfall to the county council for £100,000,” he added.

The Bones’ Rushden house was sold for £204,000 in July last year. Mr Bone, who as a non-London MP is entitled to rent a property in the capital at taxpayers’ expense, switched his London home to a new address in the same month, as a result of which his monthly parliamentary rental claims have risen from £1,300 to £1,733.

At the same time, the registered office of a company owned by the Bone family, A.J.W.B. Travel, was switched from their former home in Rushden to a flat in southeast London. There is no requirement for an MP to live in his or her constituency.

A second company that was wholly owned by Mr and Mrs Bone — Newport-based Palm Travel, which specialised in holidays to Florida — was wound up in 2004 after going into voluntary liquidation with debts of more than £1.3 million.

The couple have a combined annual income of more than £110,000, funded from the public purse. As a backbencher, Mr Bone earns £66,396 while his wife receives more than £45,000 as his office manager.

Her salary, drawn from her husband’s staffing allowance, is the highest paid to any MP’s spouse.

The focus of the police inquiry on his wife’s mother is particularly embarrassing for Mr Bone because he has regularly thrust members of his family into the public spotlight since becoming an MP in the 2005 general election.

In the Commons, he often challenges senior politicians with questions to which his wife has ostensibly demanded answers.

In 2011 the Prime Minister joked that “a very big part of my life is [spent] trying to give pleasure to Mrs Bone”.

And in his own words to the Daily Mail;

‘The issue at the heart of this dispute is very simple: either Jennie and I have looked after her mother properly, or we are devious, thieving, crooks.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2567223/Tory-MP-100k-benefits-fraud-probe-Year-long-inquiry-disputed-care-home-fees.html#ixzz2uJdZqlgK 




And here's the infamous extract from the leaked PBCC regional coordinator's dossier;

5 comments:

  1. Did the PBCC give a donation to this MP for the work he did for them in Parliament?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Where is the PBCC link?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Laurie
    "A second company that was wholly owned by Mr and Mrs Bone — Newport-based Palm Travel, which specialised in holidays to Florida — was wound up in 2004 after going into voluntary liquidation with debts of more than £1.3 million"
    Is this correct or have the debts been paid?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Peter Bonehead and the PBCC Ltd appear to sing from the same hymn book...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fiddlers on the roof?

      Delete