The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into a children’s cancer charity over its links to a man jailed for five years for stealing £171,000 of donations raised for sick children.
London-based Kids Integrated Cancer Treatment describes itself on its website as "a unique charitable organisation that is dedicated to providing support to families with children who are fighting cancer and other serious illnesses". It registered with the commission in 2009 and had income of £90,336 in the year to 31 January 2013.
The commission said in a statement that it had received concerns about KICT and its links to Kevin Wright, of Devon, in January 2012. The commission did not contact the charity at the time, at the request of police and the Crown Prosecution Service, which were investigating the situation.
In August 2013, Wright was found guilty of stealing £171,000 that had been raised in appeals for sick children. The commission said that this was not raised for KICT or any other registered charity. Wright was sentenced to five years in prison the following month, although media reports in February this year said the sentence had been reduced to four.
Following the sentencing, the commission reassessed possible regulatory issues with the charity, and what it describes in its statement as "its ongoing links to the individual". A spokeswoman for the commission said that while the investigation was ongoing she was unable to comment further on the nature of those links.
All of the charity’s annual accounts since its registration, list Mrs J Wright as one of three trustees, although she no longer holds this position, according to the charity’s register on the commission’s website. It is not clear whether she is related to Kevin Wright.
The commission said in its statement: "Following an accounts analysis and increasing concern about the accuracy of the information provided by the charity, the regulator opened a statutory inquiry."
The statement says the inquiry will examine whether the charity has been used for the private benefit of some of the trustees, and will scrutinise payments to the trustees and its relationship with connected companies; whether the charity operated for the public benefit; and whether the trustees have complied with the legal duties.
The commission has frozen the charity’s bank accounts to protect its funds.
The charity did not respond to telephone calls or an email before publication of this article.