A Figtree woman accused of cheating the Hope Centre Food Barn out of more than $12,000 has had fresh charges leveled against her in a court case that now involves her 25-year-old son.
The Mercury can exclusively reveal police have laid an additional five dishonesty charges against the charity’s former manager Lizzie Millar, following an ongoing investigation into the theft of tens of thousands of dollars.
Millar now stands accused of swiping almost $100,000 from the not-for-profit organisation, which was set up nine years ago to provide people on low incomes with access to quality food.
Millar’s son, Benjamin Bond, has also been charged as part of the investigation.
Police will allege he embezzled $12,000 from the charity between November 2014 and November 2016 while working at the Shellharbour Road premises.
Documents presented to Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday reveal Millar was arrested and charged in December 2016 with four counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception amid allegations she swindled sums of $5000, $3000, $1200 and $3000 from the food barn in late 2015.
She was granted conditional bail and fronted Port Kembla Local Court in January this year, where she formally entered pleas of not guilty to all the charges.
The case was set down for a hearing in August, however police revealed in July that they would lay additional charges against Millar following subsequent investigations that allegedly uncovered the theft of a further $89,300 from the charity.
Bond was charged with 10 offences at the same time, while the hearing against his mother put on hold.
It is alleged money from the food barn’s bank accounts was transferred into Bond’s accounts on eight occasions, often at 6 o’clock in the morning.
In court on Tuesday, defence lawyer Alyce Fisher entered not guilty pleas to the fresh charges on behalf on Millar. She also confirmed Bond pleas of not guilty.
Both cases were adjourned to October 31 for the brief of evidence against the pair to be updated and served on their defence team.
As part of her bail conditions, Millar has been prohibited from entering the Hope Recovery Centre on Shellharbour Rd and must not approach or contact any witnesses in the matter.