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Charity stripped of status after former manager allegedly stole $12,000

The ACNC has stripped the charity status from The House of Hope Recovery Centre after it was discovered its former boss stole tens of thousands of dollars

The charity status of The House of Hope Recovery Centre has been stripped following police inquiries into its former boss found that she had stolen hundreds of thousands from the organisation.

The charity – also known as Illawarra Food Hub, The Hope Centre and Hope Centre Foodbarn, which provides people on low income with access to food – was stripped of its status following charges laid against former General Manager, Lizzie Millar, for defrauding it of more than $12,000.

Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), Dr Gary Johns, said: “Today I am able to announce that House of Hope Recovery Centre has lost its charity status”. This follows years of investigations into Millar’s behaviour.

Millar was first charged with fraud in 2016, but maintained her innocence. However, in September 2017, Millar admitted to stealing from the company, following ongoing police allegations. She was accused of stealing the large sums of money from the Centre over a two year period.

At the time, Miller stated the money was to pay for her family’s Foxtel television subscription. It was also transferred to her own bank account for other extravagant purchases.

Millar was arrested at the charity’s Shellharbour Road headquarters in December, and was charged with four counts of dishonesty obtain financial advantage by deception.

By revoking its charity status, Johns said The House of Hope Recovery Centre would no longer be able to access Commonwealth charity tax concessions, including income tax exemption, deductible gift recipient status and fringe benefits tax rebates.

“Concerns about charities come to light in a number of ways, through our own internal analysis, from the public, or in the media,” Johns said. “We receive over 150 concerns every month, and we take each seriously.”

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