Northern Ireland

Trio face property fraud charges at Dungannon court

Two sisters and a brother have been committed for trial at Dungannon Magistrates Court over an alleged international property scam.

Appearing for a preliminary enquiry on Wednesday was Bernadette McGeary, 54, of Carland Road, Dungannon.

She is charged with 27 offences dating between 2005 and 2007 and involving thousands of pounds.

She is accused of masterminding a fraud using money from people in NI and Scotland for properties in Spain.

Alleged victims thought they were investing in properties, but the set-up is alleged to have been fraudulent.

The case against her was dismissed two years ago, due to lack of co-operation from Spanish authorities. However the charges were reinstated, with additional counts.

Her brother and sister are now also charged in connection with the alleged fraud, although on a lesser scale.

Stephen Peter McGeary, 52, of Drumglass and Catherine Ann Mooney, 51, of Edendork Road, both Dungannon, are accused of entering into an arrangement to acquire criminal property as well as possessing and using criminal property on various dates in 2005 and 2006.

Mrs Mooney faces three counts that involve the alleged transfer of £5,000, which she is accused of allowing to be lodged into her bank account.

Mr McGeary faces seven counts relating to amounts totalling approximately £25,000 - some of which he is alleged to have allowed to be deposited into his bank account, before transferring it to Bernadette McGeary.

At Wednesday's hearing, all three declined to call witnesses and on being asked if they wished to give evidence, Ms and Mr McGeary replied: "No", while Mrs Mooney replied: "Not at this stage."

District Judge John Meehan remanded the trio on bail and ordered them to appear for arraignment at Omagh Crown Court sitting on 20 December.

Legal aid was granted for all accused.