Former European lawmaker from Britain sentenced to 5 years for expenses fraud

A former Euroskeptic member of the European Parliament has been sentenced to five years in prison for fraudulently claiming almost 500,000 pounds ($777,000) in expenses.

Ashley Mote was convicted of submitting bogus expenses claims and using the money to pay for his mortgage and legal battles over an earlier fraud prosecution.

Mote, who is 79, was elected in 2004 for the U.K. Independence Party but was soon expelled from the party because he was being prosecuted for benefits fraud. He sat as an independent European lawmaker until 2009.

Mote often accused the 28-nation EU of corruption and wasteful spending.

Passing sentence Monday at London's Southwark Crown Court, Judge Stuart Smith told Mote he was a "thoroughly dishonest man" whose "greed and dishonesty were matched only by your hypocrisy."