Ex-union boss to fight fraud case

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Nick Hansen

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

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