THE sentencing of three men, including a principal solicitor, who formed a fictitious agency to claim hundreds of thousands of pounds in interpreter’s fees has been delayed until next month.

Mohammed Ayub, 55, principal solicitor at Chambers Solicitors, his brother Mohammed Riaz, 49, and Neil Frew, 49, Chamber's immigration manager who was also a partner at the firm, were found guilty last November following a trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

Between September 2010 and October 2014, the trio conspired together to create a sham company – known as Legal Support Services (LSS) – to claim expenses from the Legal Aid Agency (LAA), a Government body that administers the legal aid system.

Chambers had received a contract from the LAA for immigration work in October 2010 and the prosecution stated the three men were involved in the claiming of disbursement payments to an agency for the provision of interpreters for immigration and asylum contract work, when in reality, no such agency existed or was used.

During the trial, the jury heard that almost £600,000 had been paid into LSS accounts over a four-year period, but the company, run by Riaz, had no records of ever paying any corporation tax, VAT, or utility bills.

The postal address for LSS was listed as Fulton Street, situated at the back of Chambers premises on Grattan Road in Bradford city centre.

During a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court today, prosecutor Simon Kealey QC asked for the sentencing to be adjourned as new documents had been served to the Crown that morning.

He said: “The significance of these documents may lead to further police inquiries. For this reason, I am asking for the case to be adjourned today.”

Philip Hackett QC, acting on behalf of all three defendants, said it was only payments made to interpreters that had been the subject of the trial.

He said there were three cheques involved in the case, totalling £112,000, that the prosecution “believed” were for interpreters’ fees but which the defendants state were not.

He said if the money involved in the three cheques was proved to not involve payments to interpreters, it would lead to a “significant decrease in the gross figure” of the fraud.

Mr Hackett said that one of the cheques, for £42,310, dated April 16, 2012, was actually concerned with a criminal case, and should not be considered within the sentencing.

He said: “If you take those cheques out of the equation, it will significantly bring down the figure the prosecution have got.”

Judge Robert Spragg ordered that the defendants' submission on the issue be served by May 18, with a prosecution response due by June 1.

Ayub, of Aireville Drive, Shipley; Riaz, of Southfield Square, Manningham, and Frew, of Hoyle Court Drive, Baildon, were all granted unconditional bail ahead of a hearing at the same court on June 9.

He told them: “I’m sure you wanted the sentence to go ahead today, but we need to ensure the correct figure is used.”

The Solicitors Regulation Authority closed Chambers Solicitors’ offices in Bradford and Wakefield with immediate effect in December last year as a result of the convictions.