A Scottish scientist who held two top government posts in Australia is facing jail after admitting carrying out a £38,000 fraud.
Professor Suzanne Miller misused a corporate credit card to buy personal items including a drone, a scooter and pink LED lights.
The 54-year-old, who studied geology at St Andrews University, was removed from her roles as Queensland chief scientist and chief executive officer of the Queensland Museum Network following an investigation by the state’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).
The Edinburgh-born geologist also claimed almost £23,000 of private healthcare insurance to which she was not entitled. Miller had been set to defend the allegations but pled guilty to fraud during a hearing at Brisbane Magistrates Court yesterday.
The court heard the prosecution would call for a sentence of no more than three years in jail.
She wrongfully claimed health insurance through her contract at the Queensland Museum between February 2014 and July 2017.
It is understood she claimed to be on a special talent visa that entitled her to the insurance when she was not.
She also used a government credit card to make purchases worth more than £15,000 for her personal benefit.
Other items she bought included a Polaroid camera and a high-pressure cleaner.
Miller was charged by the CCC in July 2017 following an investigation.
The charges were brought against her just hours before she had been due to appear alongside the state’s science minister before a budget committee of Queensland’s Parliament.
She did not appear after news broke of the development.
Miller, who earned a salary of more than £200,000 from her dual roles, was initially suspended on full pay. However, the Queensland government have now said she is no longer an employee.
As part of her bail conditions she had to surrender her UK and Australian passports and was ordered not to attend the Queensland Museum.
Miller moved from Pittenweem to Australia in 2007 to become director of the South Australian Museum in Adelaide.
She was appointed director of the Queensland Museum Network in 2013.
The expert made history as the first woman to hold post of Queensland chief scientist in 2016.
Before leaving Scotland, she worked at the National Museum of Scotland for 12 years, latterly as keeper of natural sciences.
Miller was released on bail and is due to be sentenced in May.