Belfast Telegraph

Belfast pensioner admits defrauding church

Denis Mackie was released on continuing bail (stock photo)
Denis Mackie was released on continuing bail (stock photo)

By Ashleigh McDonald

A pensioner has admitted committing fraud against both a church and an entertainment organisation.

Denis William Mackie appeared before Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday, December 4, charged with three counts of fraud by abuse of position and a single count of fraud by false representation.

Mackie, from Thornhill Grove in Belfast, admitted that, while occupying a position in which he was expected to safeguard the financial interests of St Dorothea's Parish Church, he wrote unauthorised cheques to make a gain for himself or cause a loss to the church between November 9, 2009 and October 22, 2015.

He also admitted making unauthorised cash withdrawals from the bank accounts of St Dorothea's Church on the same dates, while he pleaded guilty to making a false representation between January 27, 2015 and February 3, 2015 - namely he presented that a cheque from the church's bank account for £18,000 was "good and valid and authorised by the signatories" to make a gain for himself or to cause a risk of loss to the church.

In addition, Mackie entered a guilty plea to abusing his position of safeguarding the financial interests of Belfast Music Festival to write unauthorised cheques drawn with the intention of making a gain for himself or causing a risk of loss to Belfast Music Festival.

This offence was committed over a period from October 16, 2014 to April 10, 2016.

After Mackie admitted the four offences, his barrister asked that a number of reports - namely a pre-sentence report, a psychiatric report and a forensic accounts report - be compiled ahead of sentencing.

Judge Philip Gilpin then addressed the 68-year old and said: "You have pleaded guilty to all four counts. We will review the matter on Friday to see how we will take the sentencing exercise forward. On Friday I will fix a date for sentence."

Mackie was released on continuing bail.

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