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Accused charity fraudster says “I’ve never done a dishonest thing in my life”

Madden maintains her innocence.

Former Young Australian of the Year finalist Jean Madden will fight charges of defrauding the charity she founded, declaring “I’ve never done a dishonest thing in my life” as she arrived at court.

Madden is accused of rorting homeless welfare group Street Swags of more than $154,000 between January 2015 and May 2016, and falsifying a registry with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

She is also accused of attempting to dishonestly gain access to a bank account and causing detriment by creating a $142, 787.64 debt, court document show.

Before her brief mention at Brisbane Magistrates Court, she thanked reporters for covering the story and maintained her innocence.

“I need to trust the court system and hope that the truth will eventually get out there,” she said.

Madden, who was the Queensland Young Australian of the Year in 2010, founded Street Swags in 2010 to provide the homeless with canvas bags that convert to bedding.

She will remain on bail before returning to court on March 13.

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