Wollongong Food Barn charity general manager charged with defrauding $12,000
Police allege general manager Lizzie Millar defrauded more than $12,000 dollars from the Hope Centre Food Barn also known as Illawarra Food Hub.
They said she took amounts of $5,000, $3,000, $1,200 and $3,000 at different times.
Ms Millar, aged 51 and of Primbee, is now facing three counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and one of dishonestly obtaining property by deception.
She has been granted bail to face Port Kembla Local Court in January.
Conditions of her release include that she surrender her passport to Lake Illawarra police station and not apply for another.
She also must not enter the Hope Recovery Centre on Shellharbour Road at Warrawong and not approach or contact any witnesses in the case.
The founders and chief excutives of the Hope Centre are Christian pastors Jeff and Gally Dakers.
Mr Dakers told the ABC he was “disappointed” that money had gone missing and said “our trust has been breached”.
“The Hope Centre has continued to deliver all our services despite the unfortunate happenings,” he said.
“We’ve got a great management team of professionals that we have obviously brought in, and also some professionals volunteering their time to assist in reviewing and strengthening our systems”.
He said the financial implications of the missing money had been carried by him and his wife to ensure programs and services were not compromised.
Speaking at the Food Barn, Ms Daker said she was “cleaning up a mess” with respect to “files” but declined to elaborate further.
The Food Barn supermarket is currently closed and is due to reopen on January 10th after the Christmas break.
Police said their investigation was continuing.
A spokesman said officers investigated after fraud allegations were reported.
It is understood Ms Millar was arrested at the Food Barn early in December and subsequently charged.
The Food Barn collects food destined for waste and redistributes it to thousands of disadvantaged families and individuals in need.
It started operating nine years ago and has received thousands of dollars in state and federal government funding.
In June this year the charity was awarded $396,663 in taxpayer funding under the New South Wales Environmental Trust as part of the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.
Supporters of the Food Barn include major supermarkets Woolworths and Coles, IGA and the Kembla Grange Racecourse.