Denver authorities have obtained an arrest warrant for a man accused of pocketing more than $12,000 in donations meant to help a cancer patient and her family.
Scott Kesterson, 42, faces charges of theft and computer crime – both felonies.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Kesterson created the Spinal Terra Foundation in 2013, an organization he claimed would exist to solicit donations to help people in need. The initial focus was a woman named Kelly De La Torre, a Denver attorney who had been diagnosed with lymphoma.
Kesterson established a goal of raising $100,000 and said the money would help De La Toree with treatments – and her family in the event that she died, according to the affidavit.
De La Toree died just months after her diagnosis, but when her husband requested funds from the foundation Kesterson allegedly told him that the group “was still going through legal paperwork.” Kesterson told the man he would get back to him but eventually stopped responding, according to the affidavit.
Investigators eventually determined that $12,300 in donations came in but that nearly all the money was transferred to accounts controlled by Kesterson and used by him – for credit card payments, ATM withdrawals, Costco purchases, Federal Express purchases and other bill payments. An additional $1,500 was transferred to Kesterson’s personal bank account, according to the affidavit, and classified as a “draw on wages.”
Of the 86 separate donations to the fund, investigators determined that 63 were from Coloradans – 37 of them from people who lived in Denver.
A judge signed the arrest warrant last week.
U.S. Marshals arrested Kesterson last Friday in Billings, Mont. At the time, investigators believe he was about to leave Billings to continue a cross-country bicycle trip.
It’s not clear when he will be extradited to Denver.
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