Former employee accuses Hillsong of embezzling church finances

Hillsong has been plagued by scandals for several years.(Photo: Hillsong)

A former Hillsong employee has accused the church of embezzling its finances and giving “large cash gifts” to the family of its founding pastor, Brian Houston.

According to an ABC Investigations report, Natalie Moses alleges in her lawsuit that Hillsong transferred money to international entities to avoid her charitable obligations.

She claims to have uncovered questionable record keeping and attempts by Hillsong to illegally conceal international transfers in violation of charity rules.

It is alleged that “significant” gifts were given to church leaders and their family and friends, and that credit cards were used to buy designer goods.

Moses worked for more than two years in Hillsong’s finance department, but claims she was suspended after challenging some of the church’s financial operations and guidelines, in violation of the Fair Labor Act.

Documents filed in the lawsuit reveal that the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC) has been investigating Hillsong since March.

Josh Bornstein, legal counsel for Moses, said the allegations were “very serious” and spoke of a “cowboy culture”.

Hillsong’s attorneys told ABC the church will defend itself against the claims.

“We are further advised that Hillsong continues to work with investigations by the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission,” they told the news network.

“As the case is now before the Federal Court of Australia, it is inappropriate to make any further comments.”

The case is expected to be heard in Federal Court later this year.

Jerry B. Hatch