Police are looking to seize all assets of former fund raising boss Kevin Wright that were illegally gained, the Echo can reveal.
This week Wright is beginning a five year prison term for stealing nearly £1m from children’s cancer appeal funds, including one he set up to help his own son from their home near Exeter.
He was convicted of 10 counts of theft and two of fraud by false representation.
And now detectives have told the Echo an application to claw back his significant assets that were not legitimately gained was being made under the proceeds of crime act.
He 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 from Kenn, Wright boasted to be raking in £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.
Investigating officer DC Susan Howell 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.
“It is not appropriate for me to speak on behalf of the victims and whether they would support this action. But in terms of the money that Kevin Wright made and the lifestyle he was able to maintain it is entirely right in this case that provisions that are available are utilised in this case. Kevin Wright was found guilty of a crime that he had benefited financially from. This is entirely appropriate use of that legislation.”
DC Paul Cundy, another of the investigating officers, said that the victims of Wright’s fraudulent activity could end up benefiting from his seized assets.
“It is a little early to say how much is involved and it depends on what he comes back with,” he added. “But the issue of confiscation and compensation all sit together. Ultimately the application will go to court and it will be the judge’s decision.”
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.