Legal hearing to take place over New Carron couple’s alleged sign language scam

The Thomsons are facing criminal charges in connection with their sign language firms
The Thomsons are facing criminal charges in connection with their sign language firms

Two deaf company bosses will face trial after being accused of defrauding taxpayers of over £240,000.

Husband and wife Andrew (51) and Caroline Thomson (52), who ran an online interpretation service for the deaf, alledgedly submitted bogus claims to the Government’s Access to Work Scheme for sign language interpreters they did not need over a four year period – including one for a trip to Las Vegas – and employed a company they owned themselves to supply them.

The case was heard at Falkirk Sheriff Court yesterday (Wednesday) and the Thomsons, Stephens Croft, New Carron, pled not guilty to all charges against them.

The list of alleged offences includes the Thomsons pretending to the DWP between April 1, 2008 and November 30, 2011 they needed the services of a sign language interpreter five days a week to be able to work at their businesses and Online Advocacy Services based in Grangemouth Enterprise Centre in Falkirk Road.

The Thomsons are also accused of failing to disclose to the DWP the organisation they had engaged to supply the interpreters – The Interpreting Agency Limited – was in fact owned and operated by themselves.

The couple are said to have submitted invoices to the DWP from The Interpreting Agency Limited for thousands of hours of interpreting and translation services, which they had prepared themselves, and which did not represent the true total number of hours of interpreting provided.

It is said they fraudulently obtained a total £238,352 from the DWP.

Andrew Thomson faces a second charge alleging he submitted a false claim for almost £2000 of expenses for an interpreter he said accompanied him on a trip to a trade fare in Las Vegas in July 2010 when no such person accompanied him.

Sheriff Craig Caldwell ordered the couple to appear at a hearing on October 21 where a jury trial date will be set.