Donegal Man Charged With Derry Benefit Frauds

A special sitting of the Magistrate's Court in Derry was told yesterday that a fifty-two years old unemployed man from Buncrana, Co. Donegal, was arrested last Friday and charged with falsely obtaining over £20,000 in unemployment and housing benefits between May 2005 and last Friday.

Ciaran Noel Waldron, who has an address at Ferguson Street in Derry, was arrested by police officers as he left the D.H.S.S. offices at Crown Buildings after he'd signed for Job Seeker's Allowance.

A police officer told the court that the defendant's arrest followed a joint investigation by the P.S.N.I. and social security officers into benefit fraud in the North West.

"He has been using the name of his brother Frank to sign a tenancy agreement for a flat in Ferguson Street and to obtain housing and unemployment benefits. His brother Frank lives in the U.S.A.", the officer told Resident Magistrate John Meehan.

"After his arrest the Ferguson Street flat was searched. There were no signs of anyone living there in terms of foot or toiletries but clothes were found in the flat and on the clothes line outside. Local people said they'd never seen him at the flat", the officer said.

The investigating officer also said that the defendant had obtained free treatment at the Royal School of Dentistry in Belfast. She said the treatment was only available to residents of Northern Ireland and that the defendant had used his brother's name to receive the treatment. She said the defendant had also used his brother's name to receive G.P. treatment in Derry.

"During his interviews he admitted using his brother's date of birth and name to obtain various benefits. He said he wanted to lose his own identity for personal reasons which he would not explain", she added.

The defendant was remanded in custody to appear before the same court on Thursday,