Queensland’s Former Chief Scientist Admits to Fraud

March 12, 2020Australia
Queensland’s Former Chief Scientist Admits to Fraud
Suzanne Miller leaves Magistrates Court in Brisbane, Australia, on March 12, 2020. The suspended chief scientist could face jail for defrauding the Queensland state government of about A$75,000. (AAP Image/Cheryl Goodenough)

Queensland’s former chief scientist could be jailed for defrauding the government of about A$75,000.

Suzanne Miller pleaded guilty in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Thursday over fraud committed while she was employed by the Queensland Museum between February 2014 and July 2017.

The Scottish-born professor was first charged by the Crime and Corruption Commission in 2017 with fraud valued about A$45,000.

It related to a fraudulent claim for private health insurance.

Later that year she was charged over the alleged misuse of a state government-funded credit card to buy herself items costing more than A$30,000.

The items include a polaroid camera, pink LED lights, a drone, a Gold Smart scooter and a high-pressure cleaner, according to court documents.

Miller’s guilty plea was to a single charge of fraud, after dozens of allegations were rolled into one.

The court heard the prosecution would call for a sentence of not more than three years in jail.
Miller was appointed chief scientist in December 2016 and was the first woman to have held the post. She drew a salary of more than A$400,000 a year from her dual roles as chief scientist and chief executive of Queensland Museum.

Announcing her appointment as chief scientist in 2016, Science Minister Leeanne Enoch said Miller had a long and distinguished career as a scientist in both the United Kingdom and Australia.

A Queensland government spokeswoman said Miller has not been a state government employee since December.

She will be sentenced on May 1.

By Cheryl Goodenough

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