Insurance fraud accused refused bail

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

A 34-year-old man has appeared in court accused of fraud offences with a ‘high degree of pre-meditation, planning and structure’.

Martin McDonagh, whose address was given as Slieve Coole Park, Omagh, is charged fraud by false representation in relation to a cheque for £5,500.

He is further charged with possession of articles for use in fraud, namely a fake driving licence, possession of a fake driving licence and obstructing police on August 19.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard allegations that police were called to the Money Shop, Waterloo Street, after the defendant attempted to cash a cheque for £5,500.

He allegedly provided a driving licence to prove his identity, but checks on this licence revealed it to be fake.

McDonagh’s photo was on the licence but it was allegedly in the name of a man who resides in Dublin.

Police interviewed the 34-year-old and he said he had received the cheque from a legal firm. He also offered to accompany the officers to the solicitors office.

Staff in the solicitors confirmed they had been representing him in relation to a compensation claim for injuries sustained in a road traffic accident.

McDonagh was arrested and finger print analysis confirmed his identity.

During police interview, the court heard the defendant made full admissions.

Opposing bail, an investigating officer said the 34-year-old has 190 previous convictions including fraud.

She added that McDonagh lived in various locations in Northern Ireland, England and the Republic of Ireland where he ‘has access to high quality fraud mechanisms’.

A defence solicitor told the court there was a £1,000 cash surety available and his client was willing to surrender his passport and driving licence.

Refusing bail, District Judge Barney McElholm said ‘this case raises the spectre of widespread insurance fraud’.

McDonagh was remanded in custody to appear in court again on Septmeber 8.