Founder of children’s cancer charity jailed over £ 200,000


Colin Nesbitt outside Bradford Crown Court. (SWNS)

The founder of a children’s cancer charity has been jailed for defrauding more than £ 200,000 from the organization.

Colin Nesbitt, 60, founded Little Heroes Cancer Trust to provide toys for children treated for cancer in hospital after his own grandson fell ill with the disease.

But during his tenure as president between 2010 and 2015, Nesbitt defrauded the charity of £ 235,000 and stole an additional £ 87,000.

He was jailed for 20 months at Bradford Crown Court on Friday after being convicted of fraud through abuse of position and theft.

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During his trial, Nesbitt was accused of using the money for personal expenses, including buying a costume and paying for a vacation in Gran Canaria.

The court heard how the trust raised money through events, but some of the money was diverted to Nesbitt, who had sole control of the accounts.

He then poured large sums of money into accounts unrelated to the charity and made dishonest loans with his money.

Nesbitt told jurors: “It was great bringing toys to sick children.”

aHe also admitted to being poor at financial management, but denied the fraud, saying, “I wasn’t careful with money enough but I wasn’t dishonest.”

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But nonetheless, District Attorney James Lake called him “greedy and dishonest,” saying, “He raised money for charity and put smiles on children’s faces, but all the while he was the greatest responsibility of the charity and made its own nest ”.

Lake told the court: “Colin Nesbitt is a dishonest man. He didn’t mismanage this charity, he ran it dishonestly.”

As a result of the trial he was convicted of four misdemeanors of fraud and two of theft, but was cleared of another similar charge of fraud in the amount of £ 120,482 and another count of charge of theft of £ 7,000.

During sentencing, Judge Jonathan Gibson said the 60-year-old abused his position to steal large donations intended to help young children with cancer and their families.

He added that Nesbitt had “betrayed the public” and the public’s trust in charity and the charitable sector.

In 2021, Nesbitt appeared on Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire, a reality show in which millionaires find themselves incognito and agree to give money to those in need.

In the episode, poker player Andrew Feldman offered Littler Heroes £ 100,000.

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Speaking after the conviction, Detective Constable Simon Turton, who led the investigation, said: “We are pleased that his custodial sentence reflects the seriousness of this abuse of position which has diverted significant amounts of money. money from some of the most vulnerable in our society.

“I would like to thank the former staff of Little Heroes Cancer Trust for their actions in exposing the fraudulent behavior of Mr. Nesbitt and for their courage in moving forward and working with the police during this lengthy investigation.

“It should be noted that many people who were once associated with Little Heroes worked hard to achieve the goals of the charity and it is a testament to these people that, despite Mr. Nesbitt’s actions, many children and their families benefited from the charity. “

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