Police Charge QLD Charity Founder
20 July 2016 at 10:46 am
The founder and former chief executive of Brisbane-based charity Street Swags, Jean Madden, has been charged by police over an alleged attack on the organisation’s website and emails.
Madden has already been embroiled in a civil case with the charity which provides lightweight and waterproof sleeping bags for the homeless.
The highly-awarded founder of the charity resigned from the organisation in June to deal with a civil court action over her alleged handling of the charity’s funds.
The former Young Australian of the Year finalist was charged by police on Tuesday night. A police spokesperson told Pro Bono Australia News that Madden was released from police custody and will re-appear in the Brisbane magistrate’s court on 4 August.
The spokesperson confirmed that the 36-year-old woman was charged with one count of “dishonestly causing detriment” to the charity.
He said the charge related to her “dishonestly causing the inability to operate and manage an organisation”.
However, Madden has also denied allegations made about misappropriating charity funds via a YouTube post made on July 16, before her arrest, which has now been taken down.
“Street Swags VISA debit card in my name was used for company running costs. To have racked up $170,000 worth, that would have to be at least five years’ worth. As a charity, we get audited every year, so have these transactions,” Madden said in the video.
“To have misappropriated $441,000, which is what I’m accused of, is physically impossible, because it’s more than the total expenditure for the entire organisation.”
But the official Street Swags Facebook page said it was business as usual for the charity.
The post said Street Swags was not closed for business as some media reports had suggested, but confirmed that it’s website had been hacked at the weekend.
“The integrity of our organisation is beyond reproach. By any individual,” it said.
“We continue to do what we do best, what we have always done – provide Street Swags to those most in need in your community.
“Court proceedings and police investigations are ongoing. We respect these processes completely, whilst also focusing on providing our partners, supporters, beneficiaries and donors as much information as possible.
“Over this past weekend, the organisation’s official website and email were hacked. This incident was reported immediately to Queensland Police on Monday morning and subsequent charges were laid against the responsible individual.”