‘It’s a Very Sordid Game’: Street Swags Charity Founder Fights Fresh Fraud Charges

FORMER Young Australian of the Year finalist and charity founder Jean Madden will continue to fight a second batch of seven fraud charges, laid months after prosecutors withdrew the same number of charges.

In December charges relating to allegations she rorted the homeless welfare group of more than $154,000 in 2015 and 2016 and falsified a registry with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission were dropped due to a lack of evidence.

However, Madden has since been charged with seven other fraud offences, which she said appeared similar to those discontinued.

After briefly facing Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday, she said the case against her was a witch hunt that had a very upsetting impact on her life.

“It’s a very sordid game,” she told reporters outside court.

Jean Madden defended herself in front of reporters outside Brisbane Magistrates Court. Picture: Annette Dew

“They haven’t killed me yet, so I still have a voice and I’m looking forward to one day telling my story.”

Madden, who was the Queensland Young Australian of the Year in 2010, founded Street Swags in 2005 to provide homeless people a more comfortable night’s sleep with canvas bags that convert to bedding.

The swags were sewn by prisoners, rolled and packaged by schoolchildren and distributed by community groups and volunteers across Australia.

The charity raised $1 million in donations in 2015, including $27,000 from Tour de France winning cyclist Cadel Evans, but its future now hangs in the balance.

Ms Madden last year posted an emotional video to Facebook denying all allegations

She will defend other allegations, including credit card fraud, at trial in May.