WA Police will apply to extradite disgraced Peel Health Campus whistleblower Ashton Foley to Perth to face an allegation of extortion.
Foley is again in police custody, with Victorian officers arresting the 40-year-old late yesterday east of Melbourne after the WA Director of Public Prosecutions signed off on an extradition approval.
Two WA major fraud squad detectives have flown to Melbourne and plan to put Foley before a magistrate’s court in Victoria tomorrow in a bid to have her returned to Perth to face a charge of demanding property with threats.
Police will allege she demanded money from her employer, Peel Health Campus, to which she was not entitled and threatened to release documents to the media if PHC refused.
The allegations that she threatened to “drip feed the media with dirty laundry” unless she was paid more than $40,000 in salary entitlements have been previously detailed in an affidavit submitted to WA’s Supreme Court.
Mrs Foley told a consultant to Peel Health Campus, from where she had resigned as chief operating officer, “that PHC could have made this very simple and this could all go away if she was paid”, according to an affidavit sworn in October.
The affidavit alleges Mrs Foley telephoned the consultant after an article in the Mandurah Mail quoted her making damaging claims about the way the hospital was managed.
“Ashton asked me to pass on a message ‘that unless she is paid what she is owed ($33,000 plus $9000 in leave entitlements) she will continue to drip feed the media with the dirty laundry about PHC’, ” the affidavit said.
“She said that PHC could have made all go away if she was paid.”
According to the affidavit, Mrs Foley said that “since she came out in the media, she has had a number of staff email and call her to show their support” and that she was “meeting with a Labor representative tomorrow to discuss further”.
Her arrest on behalf of WA police came just hours after she was fined $1000 by a Victorian magistrate after pleading guilty to breaching a community-based order.
She was put under the order in Victoria in April 2011 for “serious” dishonesty offences and breached the order by going to WA that year.
The mother of seven was later employed by Western Power and then as chief operating officer at PHC in Mandurah on more than $250,000.
After handing hundreds of internal health campus documents to the Labor Party in WA last year, Foley testified to a parliamentary committee accusing the hospital of fraud and corruption and was hailed as a courageous whistleblower.
She returned to Victoria in December after quitting PHC and was made chief executive of a regional health service east of Melbourne.
But she was forced to resign after her fraudulent past, including outstanding arrest warrants in the US, was exposed by The West Australian last month.
Major fraud squad detectives are still investigating a complaint made by PHC alleging Foley falsified her academic qualifications to get the job.