Deaf trio guilty of Access to Work fraud are jailed

ethel neal

Three Deaf fraudsters who fleeced taxpayers out of nearly £1million have been jailed for a total of more than 12 years.

Paul Neal, 38, Stephen Dering, 39, and Russell Parke, 53, used sham companies and a registered charity to rake in cash from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Paul Neal’s wife Ethel was also found guilty of a role in the scam.

Prosecutor David Aaronberg told how the group used false invoices to claim for support which had not been given.

This saw them gain benefits from the Government’s Access to Work scheme — set up to support disabled people.

Neal and wife Ethel, 37, who is also Deaf, bought a holiday home in Ireland with the profits.

The defendants were assisted during sentencing by sign language interpreters who stood beside Judge Deborah Taylor at Southwark crown court.

Neal, of Croydon, South London, was jailed for six years for  conspiracy to commit fraud, fraud and fraudulent trading.

Dering, also of Croydon, got three years and Parke, of Westerham, Kent, 40 months.

Neal’s wife was also found guilty of a role in the scam. She got two years – suspended for 24 months so she could care for their children.