Police look to seize charity-theft assets
Police are looking to seize all assets of jailed fundraising boss Kevin Wright that were illegally gained.
Wright was jailed last week for five years for stealing nearly £1 million from children's cancer appeal funds, including one he set up to help his own son from their home at Kenn, near Exeter.
He was convicted of ten counts of theft and two of fraud by false representation.
Police have revealed that an application to claw back his significant assets that were not legitimately gained was being made under the proceeds of crime act.
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Wright, who launched his first charity when his three-year-old son Bobby was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer called a neuroblastoma, has been given 56 days to come back with a statement of assets. Police will then respond with a hearing due to take place in January next year.
During the height of running Bobby's Fund, Wright boasted to be raising £50,000 a week. At one stage he was looking at buying a £2.5m retreat where he would live and he had used money donated by the public to maintain his lifestyle and invest in personal business interests.
He was convicted of stealing a total of £171,500 from the Bobby Wright Cancer Fighting Fund, including donations of £60,000 made by charities Caudwell Children and Janet Nash. He also took almost £750,000 from three other appeals he set up to raise money for three other sick children.
DC Susan Howell, investigating officer of Nottinghamshire Police's fraud department, said that the figures mentioned in the charges were a "starting point" for what they would be looking to seize, but the final total could end up being much higher.
She said: "The criminal benefit figure that is specifically mentioned in the charges he is found guilty of is the starting point. But in certain circumstances assumptions of other assets can be made. The onus is on the defendant to show that a particular asset was legitimately gained.
"The whole thing is a complex process and will take a while to conclude.
"Kevin Wright was found guilty of a crime that he had benefited financially from. This is entirely appropriate use of that legislation."
The court heard that the bulk of funds was used to cover the running costs of appeals rather than on treatment, although some went into Wright's bank account. But police confirmed there is no allowance for money spent on overheads when it comes to seizing assets.
During sentencing the court heard it was "impossible" to say how much money exactly went into Wright's bank as he kept no accounts.
However, he used £30,000 donated to the Bobby Wright Cancer Fighting Fund to buy the Toad In The Hole restaurant in Exeter and invested £20,000 in a used car business. Another £60,000 was put into Premium Bonds by Wright.