A 61-year-old man is facing prosecution for allegedly defrauding Land & Property Services and stealing nearly £70,000.
Criminal proceedings against Michael Phillip Russell got underway at Belfast Magistrates' Court on Thursday.
He has been charged with two offences following an investigation into a report of suspected fraudulent activity at the government department last year.
Russell, of The Old Distillery in Comber, Co Down, is accused of fraud by abuse of position.
It is alleged that he acquired money with the intention of making gain for himself or causing loss to Land & Property Services while occupying a position where he was expected to safeguard its financial interests.
He is further charged with the theft of £68,103.70 in total.
Both alleged offences were committed on dates unknown.
During a brief first mention in court prosecutors sought more time to prepare proceedings.
A Crown lawyer said it was a serious case with more work to be done.
Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes agreed to adjourn to January 7.