A teenager allegedly faked a brain tumour to con some of the world’s biggest popstars out of hundreds of thousands of pounds so she could fund dream trips to Disney.
Megan Bhari, 17, founded the charity Believe in Magic in 2012. She said she wanted to help “other” terminally ill children before her death in 2018.
However, concerned parents of other kids, who were suffering from cancer, began to investigate the teen’s accounts of her illness.
It was then determined by Joanna Ashcroft, from Wigan, that the fundraising appeals for Megan’s treatments were extremely lacking in detail.
She told The Times: “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.”
Keen to find out the truth, the group hired a private investigator to uncover Megan’s secrets. It was discovered that the teenager had used some of the money she had raised to fund a trip for herself to Florida’s Walt Disney World.
Believe in Magic’s accounts were then frozen after the Charity Commission received “multiple complaints”.
Between November 2015 and the year following, it was found that there had been huge withdrawals made from the accounts. In just one year, £133,000 had disappeared.
It was established by the Commission that the charity’s trustees had collectively failed in filing its accounts which amounted to “misconduct and/or mismanagement”.
Although the police did investigate the complaints, it was said that there was insufficient evidence to take the matters any further.
The charity has now been shut down and any remaining funds have been passed onto the Round Table Children’s Wish.
Megan’s charity had been backed by popstars such as Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and the boyband One Direction. After £400,000 had gone missing from the charity’s books, there was no choice but for the charity to be dissolved.
Before its end, there had been fundraising efforts for the charity which had been attended by stars such as Jessie, Pharrel Williams and Olly Murs.
According to reports, Megan had been undergoing “treatment” yet was flying across the world in private jets and luxury liners to stay at Disney resorts.
Meanwhile, One Direction and its loyal followers had raised a fortune so that she could get the “life-saving” funds she needed.
During this time, doctors apparently had shared their concerns about her frequent visit to the hospital, as there appeared to be nothing wrong.
In January 2015, Megan claimed that she had developed a second tumour and would need £120,000 for radon therapy. One Direction member Louis Tomlinson reportedly made a significant and personal donation to the fund.
In the same year, the teenager received a special reward by David Cameron for being an “outstanding volunteer”.
As reported by The Times, Megan passed away and it was recorded that she had died of heart failure due to a fatty liver. However, there wasn’t any mention of her suffering from tumours on her medical record.
Megan’s mother, Jean O-Brien, 66, was a previous trustee of Believe in Magic. Yet for five years, she agreed not to be involved with the charity as a senior member of management or as a trustee.
Last week, she addressed the Commission’s decisions to shut down the charity and the allegations that had been put forward about her daughter faking her illness.
She wrote on Facebook: “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.”