17-year-old schoolgirl cons celebrities and their fans alike to the tune of £400,000 by faking a brain tumour for sympathy and cash.
Megan Bhari, set up the “Believe in Magic” foundation with the intended mission of helping terminally ill children realise their biggest dream before their death.
The foundation was set up in 2012 and has been backed by numerous celebrities including; Taylor Swift, Michael Bublé and Ed Sheeran.
The foundation was set up by Bhari in 2012 before her death in 2018 at the age of 23. However, it was dissolved last week after an independent enquiry found the sum of £400,000 missing from its accounts.
It turns out that the teenager faked her brain tumour to get sympathy and money to enjoy a lavish lifestyle.
A number of parents of cancer sufferers became suspicious of Ms Bhari after her recalled accounts of her illness did not match up with their own experiences.
Furthermore, attendees at a number of Ms Bhari’s fundraising events were concerned about the lack of clarity and detail provided.
Joanne Ashcroft from Wigan told The Time, “I spoke to other oncology parents close to me who felt the same.”
“Our own children had been through the most horrific disease and treatments imaginable, there was just something in the words that didn’t ring true.”
The group of parents banded together and eventually hired a private investigator to follow Ms Bhari and inspect her and her foundation.
What he found and reported back shocked and angered the parents. It turned out that he found Ms Bhari living at Walt Disney World in Florida and travelling across the US on multiple cruises.
Further investigate, which was then undertaken by the Charities Commission, found that Believe in Magic saw cash withdrawal to the tune of £133,000 in 2015, and £156,000 in 2016.
In addition, a further £108,786 was transferred to a trustee in 2015 and as such the decision was taken to close the charity with the remaining finances going to the Round Table Children’s Wish.
Ms Bhari’s mother Jean O’Brien, 66, one of the charity’s trustees said on social media, “No one on this earth could have loved Meg more than me. I did everything I could to make her life as wonderful, as happy and as comfortable as it could be.”
“The charity grew so quickly and although Meg and I worked tirelessly I take full responsibility for the less than perfect admin and record keeping.”
“I am not ashamed to say I have been driven to the brink by these completely untrue and devastating allegations.”
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