Ex-union boss to fight fraud case
FORMER union boss Derrick Belan has pleaded not guilty to a raft of fraud charges totalling $440,000.
The 45-year-old former National Union of Workers state secretary and his 35year-old niece Danielle O’Brien were arrested at their homes at Berkshire Park and Shalvey respectively last week by state and federal officers from the Trade Union Joint Police Taskforce.
It was established in January in response to the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.
Mr Belan is accused of defrauding $440,000 from the union using electronic transfers, withdrawals and union credit cards.
He pleaded not guilty to 24 charges when he appeared via videolink in Penrith Local Court on Friday.
Ms O’Brien, a former union bookkeeper, faces 148 fraud charges totalling an alleged $430,000.
She was released on police bail and is due to appear before Mt Druitt Local Court on December 15.
They are also accused of processing false invoices via a third-party contractor.
Mr Belan and Ms O’Brien were also charged with participating in a criminal group.
Prosecutor Andrew Whitton yesterday called the alleged scheme a “deliberate, systemic and ongoing fraud” between 2010 and 2015.
“He was the director of that criminal group, he is the one who made it happen,” Mr Whitton said.
“The accused held a position of trust in that union. He was the one who was able to call the shots. The union is supposed to look after its members.”
Magistrate Stephen Corry granted Mr Belan bail on the condition he surrender his passport and not leave the country, and not contact any persons of interest in the case, including Ms O’Brien.
Mr Belan is due to reappear in court in January.
Derrick Belan out on bail on Friday. Picture: Justin Sanson