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  1. ITV Report

Shelterbox founder accused of fraud

Shelterbox founder Tom Henderson is accused of fraud Photo: ITV News

A court has been told how the founder of the Helston-based charity Shelterbox awarded lucrative contracts to his son so he could buy a house.

63 year old Tom Henderson, who no longer works for the charity, is accused of fraudulently channelling hundreds of thousands of pounds in pointless contracts to a firm run by his son John.

Tom Henderson was described as a man 'who thought he was untouchable' as he was accused of conspiring to guarantee his son's income over a period of 5 years.

As Founder and Chief Executive of the charity he was responsible for signing off large numbers of contracts that would favour his son, a move that was to become increasingly controversial. When questioned by trustees he brought in a third man Darren Jarvis. The prosecution claim that he was merely a cover that would allow the agreement to continue to favour his son.

Tom Henderson started the charity from scratch from the garage of his house. It grew to an international organisation supplying all the basic needs for a family to start to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of natural disasters. Earning him an OBE for services to humanitarian aid after the charities help in the aftermath of the asian tsunami and Haiti.

The jury were told to put aside any feelings they had for the success of the charity. The prosecutor even pointed out that during his time he undoubtedly helped save hundreds if not thousands of lives worldwide.

As the trial continues all three men face the single charge of conspiracy to commit fraud.

The prosecutor said some trustees felt he had so called 'founder syndrome'.

The fraud he said was an abuse of his position that he should have been safeguarding the interests of the charity as the figure head but instead he'd led himself into the self belief that anything he would say would go. And in favouring his son at all costs he'd crossed the line into fraud.

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