Hope Centre chief executive Jeff Daker has revealed the bombshell reason he placed so much trust in the charity's now disgraced House of Hope Foodbarn boss, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Millar.
"My son is engaged to her daughter," he told media outside Wollongong Local Court just moments after Millar was sentenced for defrauding the charity of almost $20,000 while working as its general manager.
"That's why she'd had such a high level of trust - she was going to be a family member."
Millar was originally accused of taking almost $100,000 from the charity over an 18-month period, however due to a lack of records - most of which Millar had disposed of in a bid to hide her crimes - only $17,900 could be proven in court.
Court documents said Millar transferred money from the company's bank accounts into her own and that of her son dozens of times between November 2014 and July 2016, with almost all the transactions falsely listed as relating to House of Hope business.
Further investigation revealed Millar regularly used charity funds to pay for personal items and household bills.
A review of the charity's cash flow by directors in November 2016 discovered the discrepancies, prompting a more thorough investigation to take place.
Police were subsequently notified and Millar was arrested at the charity's Shellharbour Road headquarters a month later and charged with dishonesty offences.
Police laid additional charges against Millar and fresh charges against her son, Benjamin Bond, in September 2017, however the charges against Bond were later withdrawn.
Millar pleaded guilty to the fraud in October last year.
In court on Friday, Magistrate Roger Clisdell spared Millar a full-time jail sentence, despite his concerns over her apparent "self-serving" attempt to lay blame for her actions on Mr Daker's leadership.
He placed her on a community-based intensive corrections order for 22 months, which includes 400 hours of unpaid community service work.
Mr Daker said he was satisfied with the length of Millar's sentence but would like to have seen her incarcerated: "I think that would have been a more appropriate sentence".
When asked how the court case had affected the family dynamics, Mr Daker confirmed his son and Millar's daughter were still engaged.
"There will always be issues as you can imagine but all families have issues. You just keep on keeping on don't you?"
Mr Daker confirmed the organisation would sue Millar for the outstanding funds.