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Black Lives Matter fraudster jailed over fundraiser ordered to repay £1 | UK News

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Black Lives Matter fraudster jailed over fundraiser ordered to repay £1 | UK News

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Xahra Saleem spent thousands of pounds intended for charity (Picture: ITV)

A fraudster who stole £70,000 which had been fundraised for a youth group has only been ordered to pay back £1.

Xahra Saleem was one of the organisers of the Black Lives Matter protests which toppled the Edward Colston statue in Bristol in 2020.

A fundraiser intended to raise cash for Changing Your Mindset, a St Pauls-based youth group, but instead Saleem pocketed the huge sum and splashed the cash on Ubers, takeaways and clothes.

The youth group never received a penny of the cash – but during a proceeds of crime court hearing Saleem, 23, was only ordered to pay back a nominal £1 as she is now ‘penniless’.

Bristol crown court heardSaleem received an initial payment of £30,653. This came after a total of 588 individual donations had been made from around the world to the GoFundMe page, totalling £32,344.

She went on to spent a total of £44,815 on what were described as ‘lifestyle’ expenses – including a whopping £5,800 on Ubers.

She was accused of fraud (Picture: James Beck/Bristol Live/BPM Media)

Speaking after the latest court hearing, DC Anthony Davis said: ‘Xahra Saleem admitted to defrauding a charity of a significant sum of money and received a custodial sentence for it last year.

‘She made the conscious decision to take the money for herself, when it should have gone to young people in east Bristol.

‘Blameless individuals who supported the charity were left to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of this serious fraud.

‘They were put in an incredibly difficult position of trying to answer questions about Saleem’s offending when they had done nothing wrong and were left devastated by what occurred.

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‘In total it has been calculated Saleem benefitted to the value of approximately £70,000. Nobody should profit from criminality and that’s why we have taken proactive action under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

‘Saleem was instructed at Bristol crown court on April 5 to pay a nominal amount following due consideration of her available assets.

‘Should she obtain assets in the future, we would have the opportunity to seek a re-confiscation order through the courts via Section 22 of the Proceeds of Crime Act.’

Saleem, of Romford in Essex, initially entered not guilty pleas to two charges of fraud. The second charge related to a separate online fundraising page set up in the days following the toppling of the statue of Edward Colston in June 2020, called ‘Bristol Protesters Legal Fees’.

This was discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service.

During sentencing, judge Michael Longman told Saleem she had ‘abused her position’ as director of Changing Your Mindset.

He told her: ‘As an organiser of the Black Lives Matter march in Bristol, you gave yourself a high public profile which you used to raise money to help young people in St Pauls – an immensely worthwhile cause.

‘That money you then used for your benefit not theirs – funding a lifestyle which you could not normally afford.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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