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UNDER INVESTIGATION: Bungaree netball identity Kelly Howard has been accused of defrauding the the Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation of $475,000.
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BUNGAREE netballidentity Kelly Howard has been accused of defrauding theWathaurungAboriginal Corporation, where she was a book-keeper.

The corporation, trading as Wadawurrung, has accusedHoward in the Supreme Court of Victoria of defrauding the organisation of more than $475,000 over a six-year period.

The court filing came amid an investigation by Victoria Police into Howard’s alleged fraud.

Howard is accused of funnelling the hundreds of thousands of dollars fromWathaurungAboriginal Corporation to fund personal purchases.Late last month the Supreme Court of Victoria placed a freezing order over Howard’s private properties, bank accounts and other assets.

Howard’s alleged spending spree included landscaping works for her husband, Brad Howard, interactive comedy dinners by Bare Elements and 20 netball dresses.

Hundreds of other transactions allegedly performed by Howard moved money from the indigenous corporation to her own ANZ bank accounts or to Kelly Howard Pty Ltd.

Some of these transactions include false invoices according to court documents, including a payment of $13,566.03 toAcquairPty Ltd for repair and installation of a heater system, according to an affidavit filed by the corporation’s new auditor, Sandra Campbell from RSM.

The organisation’s long-time auditor, Ron Jennings and his firm Barker & Jennings are accused of professional negligence for not picking up the alleged fraud committed by Howard – a former employee at his firm who still works out of the same buildingon Lydiard Street.

The accusations against Howard come after a prolonged period of poor financial management and lax governance that sparked an intervention by the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations following an examination of members of the corporation byORICand external auditors at Grant Thornton.

When contacted by Fairfax Media, Howard declined to comment except to say she was preparing a defence to the allegation.

 

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