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Charity defrauder also faked cancer

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 14/11/2018 Joshua Louder

A mother who pleaded guilty to defrauding a charity she used to work at, previously faked a cancer diagnosis.

Lizzie Millar has pleaded guilty to a number of charges of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception in relation to her time as a volunteer with and as general manager of the Hope Centre, a charity based in NSW’s Illawarra region.

Millar was once admired and respected for her work at the charity that feeds the poor, although she was secretly fleecing tens of thousands of dollars from the Hope Centre over her two years working there.

a man and a woman standing in front of a car: Lizzie Millar pleaded guilty to a number of charges of dishonestly obtaining financial disadvantage by deception. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Lizzie Millar pleaded guilty to a number of charges of dishonestly obtaining financial disadvantage by deception.

Jeff and Gally Dakers mortgaged their home to get the Hope Centre up and running but after this ordeal, they’ve had to shut down the charity, leaving potentially thousands of people hungry in the region.

“They're struggling out there, we were their life source to feed their kids,” Gally Dakers said.

“I've heard their stories, I’ve been there, I've wept with them, now what's happened to those people?”

a man standing in front of a window: Jeff and Gally Dakers mortgaged their home to support the charity but have now shut it down. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Jeff and Gally Dakers mortgaged their home to support the charity but have now shut it down.

Aside from feeding the hungry, the Hope Centre trained unemployed and the disabled in job skills, with more than 80 percent of people who worked there later gaining paid employment.

Millar had control over the charity's day-to-day operations, including paying wages to employees.

It was only after an internal audit revealed there were discrepancies in the charity’s financial statements that Millar was charged with fraud in December 2016 and then hit with a second set of charges in September 2017.

a person smiling for the camera: Gally said the Hope Centre was the © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Gally said the Hope Centre was the

“She said she had MS and I said, we’re going to have to get a report from your doctor,” Jeff said about Millar.

“As soon as we started pushing it for reports she dropped it.”

Millar did the same thing in the UK where she emigrated from.

a group of people posing for the camera: Millar (centre) with Scott Morrison. © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Millar (centre) with Scott Morrison.

A court psychiatrist said "she erroneously claimed to have cancer and perpetuated and embellished these lies in a way that is characteristic of the phenomena known as pseudologica fantastica (pathological lying)."

Jennette, a volunteer at the charity, said she loaned probably at least $8000 to Millar and hasn’t got any of that money back.

“She seems to groom you,” Jennette said of Millar’s tactics.

When A Current Affair reporter Brady Halls confronted Millar and asked her if she’d like to apologise to those she stole from she replied, “I haven’t stolen from anybody,” despite pleading guilty to several charges of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception.

The exact amount she defrauded from the charity is in dispute but is said to run into the tens of thousands. Millar’s case will return to court on April 4, 2019.

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