Chambers solicitors fraud trial told interpreters went unpaid
An interpreter working for Chambers solicitors in Bradford was not paid for up to six months, she claimed.
Iranian Fatima Amir Kamali, who came to the UK in 2008, was employed by the firm for two years on a freelance basis.
She told a Sheffield Crown Court jury she initially went unpaid when she began working for Chambers in January, 2011.
When asked for how long she replied: "Five or six months."
The prosecution in the conspiracy trial of Mohammed Ayub, 55, his brother Mohammed Riaz, 48, and Neil Frew, 48, allege interpreters were routinely not paid.
Miss Kamali said she was booked by immigration case workers at the firm and after meetings was asked to submit invoices to Chambers principal lawyer Ayub.
She complained to case workers and became "frustrated" as she had to pay her travel expenses out of her own pocket.
When she eventually confronted Ayub face-to-face she said he explained that the Legal Aid Agency did not provide funding until cases were closed.
After "five or six months" she picked up a cheque signed by Ayub with no details of her invoices. She continued working for Chambers until the end of 2013.
Miss Kamali said she had "never heard" of Legal Support Services which the prosecution claim was a sham company set up by the three defendants to dishonestly claim £600,000 from the Legal Aid Agency in interpreters' legal fees.
She also said she had never come across Riaz who purportedly was the owner of LSS.
Cross-examined by Philip Hackett QC, for Ayub, she admitted he had shown concern for her difficulties at the face-to-face meeting and was "polite" to her.
But she had sent him emails and telephoned him in trying to get paid and she did not view his response as prompt.
Ayub, of Aireville Drive, Shipley, Riaz, of Southfield Square, Manningham, and Chambers employee Frew, of Hoyle Court Drive, Baildon all deny conspiracy to defraud.