Victoria Police has ruled out investigating embattled social media entrepreneur Belle Gibson despite revelations she failed to hand over thousands of dollars raised in the name of charity.
Police considered a criminal investigation into the Melbourne founder of The Whole Pantry food app after Fairfax Media revealed she ran two fund-raising drives for charity, promising app sale proceeds and soliciting cash donations from a following of 200,000 people.
Four of the five charities listed in her company’s promotional material had no knowledge of the appeals and all confirmed no payment from Ms Gibson or her company was made more than a year after the campaigns finished.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said correspondence had been received in relation to alleged charity fraud, but that it would not be investigating. “This matter is being looked at by Consumer Affairs Victoria, not Victoria Police,” she said.
The state’s consumer watchdog last month launched an inquiry into Ms Gibson’s charity claims and will determine whether there have been any breaches under fund-raising or consumer laws.
A Consumer Affairs Victoria spokeswoman said it had written to the health blogger seeking clarification about her fund-raising appeals.
Ms Gibson launched her global business, which included a top-rating app and cookbook, off her controversial story as a young mother healing herself naturally from terminal brain cancer.
She had claimed to have given away 25 per cent of her company’s profits and in her book writes that “a large part of everything” earned is donated to various causes.
However, Ms Gibson last month admitted that $300,000 in contributions she said had already been paid were never made due to cash flow problems. She has refused to provide a list of organisations that have received money or say how much has been donated to date.
Read More: Belle Gibson will not face criminal charges