6 Deaf defendants successfully prosecuted for their part in a £750,000 Access to Work Fraud

News | Thu 12th Nov, 2015

After a 2 month trial at Southwark Crown Court the jury unanimously found 6 deaf defendants guilty of fraud. 

The fraud had been masterminded by Shahab Reza who was assisted by his wife Shehnaz Reza.  They received sentences of 7 ½ years and 22 months’ imprisonment respectively. 

Shahab Reza recruited a total of 14 so-called ‘employees’ to his sham companies and in return for a monthly retainer, they signed application forms and claim forms for reimbursement of support from the Access to Work scheme, a government benefit designed to assist disabled people overcome work related barriers through financing BSL interpreters, Communication Support Workers and/or equipment. 

A total of 11 people have now been successfully prosecuted over the course of two trials at Southwark Crown Court.

Sentencing of these 6 defendants will take place on Friday 11th December 2015 at Southwark Crown Court.  Confiscation proceedings against Shahab and Shehnaz Reza will take place on 22nd and 23rd December 2015.

James Thacker was instructed by the CPS Specialist Fraud Division.  Jennifer Newcomb and Tom Rainsbury acted as Disclosure Counsel.

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