Northern Ireland

Republican Brian Arthurs admits £250,000 mortgage fraud

A leading republican has admitted more than £250,000 of mortgage fraud.

Brian Joseph Arthurs, 48, pleaded guilty to three charges of obtaining a money transfer by deception and two counts of possessing £31,718 worth of criminal property.

His wife, Paula Anne, 49, admitted obtaining a money transfer of £52,000 by deception.

The couple from Finulagh Road, Castlecaulfield, had been due to stand trial at Belfast Crown Court.

But they changed their plea on Wednesday.

Subsequently, further charges of obtaining services by deception and possessing and converting criminal property were left on the books.

Arthurs admitted making three fraudulent mortgage applications totalling £345,250 from the Bank of Ireland, Birmingham Midshires and The Mortgage Business PLC.

The particulars of the case suggest he inflated his income by £34,500, claiming he had another job and had no other debts.

His wife told the Bank of Ireland that she was a hair salon manageress earning £18,500. The single charge against her dates back 16 years.

She admitted obtaining a money transfer by deception, namely a £52,000 mortgage from the Bank of Ireland between 3 November 1996 and 10 January 1997.

The trial had been due to be heard by a non-jury Diplock court. The couple's appeal against this was unsuccessful.

Arthurs was once a member of Sinn Féin and acted as an election agent on behalf on Michelle Gildernew.

In 1995, he was sentenced to 25 years in jail for possessing explosives. He was later released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

In court on Wednesday, sentencing was adjourned for two weeks and the couple were granted bail.

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