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Man pleads guilty to stealing $12K meant for friend dying of cancer

Posted at 11:21 AM, Dec 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-14 13:21:00-05

DENVER – A man charged with stealing $12,000 in cancer donations pleaded guilty to felony theft and computer crime and repaid the funds that were stolen.

Scott Kesterson, 52, was arrested in Billings, Montana back in August as he prepared to set off on a cross-country cycling tour. 

He was extradited to Colorado where he entered the guilty plea Thursday in Denver District Court. He received a two-year deferred sentence and ordered to pay up-front restitution of $15,656, which was paid in full.

Between October 2013 and February 2014, Kesterson stole $12,000 from a donation fund he started for Denver attorney Kelly de la Torre, who was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in November 2013. 

Kesterson and the de la Torre were longtime friends and business acquaintances.

"It's very humiliating to me still. It still kills me. These people went out of their way in my wife's name," her husband, Jorge de la Torre, said.

The Denver District Attorney’s Office said nearly 80 people donated to the fund, but instead of giving the money to the victim’s family, court records show he used it for personal expenses, including credit card payments and rent.