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Former councillor sentenced for fraudulent expense claims

|News, Fraud and economic crime

A former councillor in Cheshire has been sentenced for fraudulently claiming around £5,000 in expenses over five years.

Between 2009 and 2015 William Livesley, 66, was an elected councillor on Cheshire East Council, firstly representing the Prestbury and Titherington area and later representing Bollington and Higher Hurdsfield.

In December 2016 a reporter from the Crewe Chronicle asked Cheshire East Council for copies of Mr Livesley's travel expense claims from 2014 to 2016, under the Freedom of Information Act.

An internal audit of the claims was set up and revealed fraudulent claims for meetings which he had not attended and fraudulent claims in which the distance to and from meetings was exaggerated.

At a hearing at Chester Crown Court on 27 April 2020, he pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud, covering a period from December 2010 to May 2015. The extent of the fraud was thought to be around £5,000.

He was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for a year, and has been put on a night-time curfew for four months, which states that he cannot leave his house between the hours of 7pm and 6am, and will be electronically tagged.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Caroline Ross of CPS Mersey Cheshire said: “There is a code of conduct which makes it clear that elected representatives are in a position of trust and must not do anything which undermines that trust or confers advantage on themselves or their families.

“Former Councillor Bill Livesley betrayed that trust in a sustained and deliberate fashion and defrauded Cheshire East Council out of large sums of public money over a number of years.

“It is thought that Mr Livesley was under increasing financial pressure and was servicing a series of debts when his fraud was uncovered. He has lost his good name and the trust of the people he represented.”

Notes to editors

  • Caroline Ross is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS Mersey-Cheshire

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