The Charity Commission has wound up a charity for babies born prematurely or with birth defects after an investigation discovered fundraisers were paying themselves and not giving money to the supposed beneficiaries.
The Cleveland-based charity Baby Assist was established three years ago but failed to offer any practical support for the babies on whose behalf it claimed to be collecting.
The Commission discovered fundraisers had duped the public, donors and licensing officers over how the money would be spent and failed to mention that some funds would end up in their own pockets. Other funds were retained in the charity's bank accounts.
According to the Commission, at least 15 fundraisers and several thousand pounds were involved. It is now monitoring the trustees to ensure that once proper expenses are paid, all remaining funds are donated to the South Cleveland Hospital baby unit.