Health Services Union pair ordered to repay millions

The former mistress of disgraced Health Services Union boss Michael Williamson has been ordered to pay back millions in misappropriated funds.

The NSW Supreme Court has ordered Cheryl Rose McMillan, the union’s former procurement officer, and her close friend Alf Downing to repay more than $8 million to the HSU.

The court heard McMillan and Williamson devised a plan in early 2005 where Downing’s company Access Focus would invoice the union for supplies at an inflated rate. Under the trio’s agreement, Downing kept 50 per cent of the inflated amount while the other half was paid to McMillan on the basis that she shared it with Williamson.

The court ordered McMillan to repay the union $3.7 million, including interest and legal costs. Downing was ordered to pay $4.3 million, including interest and costs.

HSU secretary Gerard Mayer said the union will continue with other forms of recovery action. The union had also tried to recoup an extra $611,000 from McMillan which it claimed was deposited in a bank account between 2005 and 2011. “We have pursued these people for the past two years and this case shows the extent of the funds that were taken from HSU members” he said.

In October last year Williamson pleaded guilty to defrauding the union of about $1 million as well as enlisting family and friends to hinder the police investigation into his activities. He was sentenced to seven and a half years in jail, but he will be eligible for parole after serving five.

 

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