A 60-year-old Armenian man has been remanded in custody on suspicion of pocketing €18,500 in pension cheques that were sent to his dead mother over a ten-year period.
Speaking during the remand hearing at Nicosia District Court, the case investigator said police were tipped off by a Social Services worker who caught wind that the pensioner in question died in 2003.
The worker said the death was never registered with the Nicosia District Administration office and that the pensioner's cheques were still being collected and cashed.
After launching an investigation, police were informed by an Armenian Church official that the pensioner had in fact died on July 29, 2003 and a funeral was held a few days later.
It was also determined that the pension cheques were being sent to a post office box registered to a company based in Old Nicosia which is owned by the deceased's son.
After tracking down some of the cheques, investigators found that a number of them had been signed by the suspect while one also had his identity card details.
An arrest warrant was issued for the suspect after several attempts to locate him proved unsuccessful.
He was apprehended in Nicosia by a traffic police officer who pulled him over for driving whilst speaking on the phone and later determined that the motorist was wanted by the authorities.
"We have so far taken 23 statements from the suspect's work and family environment and expect to take another 30," said the case investigator.
He added that during questioning the suspect said he was not aware that his mother's death should have been registered by the family.
He also claimed he thought the Ministry of Labour would stop sending the cheques once they had established his mother had passed away. The court approved an eight-day remand for the suspect.