Trustees of a now defunct children’s cancer charity received unauthorised payments, entered into a working relationship with a businessman later convicted of fraud and failed to manage conflicts of interest appropriately, the Charity Commission has concluded.
The commission’s inquiry into Kids Integrated Cancer Treatment, the report of which was published today, found a number of serious deficiencies in how the charity was run, as well as serious mismanagement and misconduct committed by the trustees.
The charity, which ceased operating in 2014 and was removed from the register by the commission in 2015, first came to the regulator’s attention after a complaint from a member of the public in 2012 about the charity’s links to a businessman called Kevin Wright.
Wright, who was married to one of the charity’s original trustees, was convicted of theft and fraud by false representation in 2013 in connection with fundraising appeals not linked to Kids Integrated Cancer Treatment.
The trustee married to Wright was acquitted of the same charges, but resigned from the charity and was replaced by a former fundraiser and administrator for Wright.
This new trustee received a police caution after a person claiming to be collecting money on behalf of the charity was arrested on suspicion of fraud in 2014.
Charges and prosecutions for fraud against two other people connected to the charity were discontinued in October 2015 because there was no reasonable prospect of conviction, the report says.
It says that Wright set up a web of companies that had agreements with the charity, which led to "significant financial personal benefits for him and his companies".
It adds that another trustee was engaged by the charity as a contractor from 1 November 2013. This trustee told the police they "took cash from donations in lieu of wages", although the contract they signed with the charity included an hourly rate of £10 up to a maximum 40 hours a week plus expenses.
The report says the trustees have "provided no evidence to demonstrate why it was in the charity’s best interests to enter into this agreement".
A final trustee also received £150 a month to store files for the charity, as well as £30 a month for their phone bill, and went on 11 training courses in the US between 9 November 2011 and 29 May 2014, the report says.
Further payments were made to this trustee and two companies they owned. The commission says there was no evidence why the payments to this trustee were in the charity’s best interests.
The report says that all the trustees, except for the trustee who replaced Wright’s wife, had significant financial benefit from their agreements with the charity.
For the year ending 31 January 2013, the charity had an income of £90,336 and spent £84,745, according to the case report.