Professor Suzanne Miller, former Chief Scientist and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Queensland Museum, was convicted of fraud and sentenced to three years imprisonment, to be suspended after three months, as a result of a Crime and Corruption Commission corruption investigation.
In July 2013 Professor Miller, a respected scientist from the United Kingdom, was appointed as CEO of the Queensland Museum Network. In December 2016, she also become Queensland’s Chief Scientist while carrying out her Queensland Museum CEO duties part-time. Professor Miller was on a combined salary of over $350,000 per annum from both appointments.
The CCC commenced its investigation in August 2016 after receiving an anonymous public interest disclosure concerning financial irregularities within the Museum, primarily involving the use of Professor Miller’s corporate credit card.
During the course of the investigation CCC officers examined a variety of business and personal documents and interviewed over 20 witnesses including current and former Museum employees and board members.
The investigation identified that Professor Miller had made a large number of fraudulent transactions on her corporate credit card and claims for employee allowances. These included private health insurance, international travel and accommodation for her family, overseas mortgage repayments, household furniture, an electric scooter and other electrical items, and expensive clothing and theatre tickets.
A number of items that had been purchased on the corporate credit card were found at her residence during the execution of a search warrant.
While employed by the Queensland Museum, Professor Miller defrauded the organisation of more than $80,000.
Professor Miller pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud as an employee to the value of $30,000 or more, committed between 1 February 2014 and 24 July 2017. On 1 May 2020 she was sentenced to three years imprisonment, to be suspended after three months, and has been ordered to repay the Queensland Museum just over $75,000. Prior to the court hearing Professor Miller had earlier repaid over $7,000.
Multiple procedural recommendations were made to the Department of the Premier and Cabinet regarding financial controls and an ethical framework and training are to be implemented across the Arts Queensland portfolio.
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