SYC has been operating for 60 years and had a turnover last year of about $68 million.
SYC has been operating for 60 years and had a turnover last year of about $68 million.

Executive ‘stole $350k’ from homeless charity

A man charged with helping Adelaide's homeless and unemployed youth has instead been charged with defrauding the charity that supports them.

Michael Clark, formerly of SYC, has been arrested and charged with defrauding the not-for-profit of $350,000 over about three years. SYC helps young people who are homeless, unemployed, or otherwise struggling.

At the time of his arrest in late November, SA Police said further charges were expected to be laid as investigations continued.

Michael Clarke, former executive with homeless charity SYC, has been charged with defrauding it of $350,000.
Michael Clarke, former executive with homeless charity SYC, has been charged with defrauding it of $350,000.

"Police allege the accused defrauded a not-for-profit organisation, where he held an executive position, for a total of $350,000 between December 2015 and November 2018," a police statement said.

SYC has been operating for 60 years and had a turnover last year of about $68 million.

Mr Clark was the director of corporate strategy and had been there since 2011.

SYC chief executive Paul Edginton said it was "incredibly disappointing" but wanted to tell donors that there was "no breach" of their trust because the money taken was SYC's own.

He said the three worst things that could happen to a not-for-profit were a young person being harmed, a government contract broken, or having donor funds affected - and that none of those things had happened.

"None of that money was donated. None of that money was within a government contract. It was SYC's money," he said.

"We refuse to be distracted by this incident from what is the really important work we're doing, particularly at this time of year."

SYC receives State Government funding, but the Government confirmed that no contracts were affected and that the organisation was fully co-operating with the relevant authorities.

Mr Clark was granted police bail and will appear in the Magistrates Court next month.

SA Council of Social Service chief executive Ross Womersley said that any theft was "extremely regrettable" but that the vast majority of people did the right thing.

"This is an isolated incident in a heavily regulated sector, and 99.9 per cent of the time charities do great work - and especially at Christmas time when the need is often greatest," he said.

"Poverty, injustice and inequality are never welcome companions in anyone's life, no matter what time of the year, and the work our charities all do to redress these issues, still needs the backing of our community."

Mr Clark was a Liberal ministerial adviser under the John Olsen and Rob Kerin governments, almost two decades ago.



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