(CNN) — A woman accused of scamming nearly half a million dollars from a nonprofit fund benefiting the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings was indicted on Monday, according to a Massachusetts Attorney General.
Audrea Gause, 26, was indicted on charges of larceny over $250 and gross fraud by a Suffolk County Grand Jury, according to a statement from the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley.
Gause was arrested on July 19 in her hometown of Troy, New York, on a Massachusetts fugitive warrant. She was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on August 2, where she pleaded not guilty. She is being held on $200,000 cash bail, the statement said.
The nonprofit — The One Fund Boston — began distributing nearly $61 million to 232 eligible claimants starting June 30, according to a release from the organization.
Gause was awarded $480,000 from the fund after claiming she suffered a traumatic brain injury resulting in long-term memory loss, impaired speech and loss of some motor function that would require future surgery as a result of the Boston Marathon bombing, the attorney general’s office said.
Authorities allege that Gause gave $377,500 of the money she fraudulently obtained from The One Fund to a New York construction company as a down payment on a new home. Investigations also revealed that Gause signed up for a cruise, named the “Heroes Cruise,” which was being offered free to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing by a Boston-based travel company, according to the statement.
After a tip received by the state attorney general and The One Fund Boston that Gause was not in Boston at the time of the bombing, an official investigation began, Coakley said at a news conference on July 19.
That investigation determined that Gause was never a patient at Boston Medical Center for two days or Albany Medical Center for 10 days, as she declared on her notarized claim form, the statement says.
“This defendant allegedly attempted to steal from the real victims of the Marathon bombing and we are pleased that we were able to recover this money for The One Fund Boston,” Coakley said.
The One Fund Boston divided payments between four classifications that were based on the severity of injuries or loss of life, according to the fund’s statement.
More than 260 people were wounded and three were killed in the double bombings, which took place near the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15.
Gause is scheduled to be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on October 7. Calls to her attorney, John Hayes, were not immediately returned to CNN on Monday.
Coakley’s office said two other individuals have been charged with attempted fraud of The One Fund Boston. In August, two brothers from Boston were charged in connection with an attempt to defraud the organization of $2 million after submitting a false claim on behalf of their dead aunt.
Source : BBC
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- Coakley reviewing donations raised for victims of bombing (bostonherald.com)
- Woman indicted in One Fund fraud (wcvb.com)
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- Mass. AG Coakley seeks info on marathon donations (boston.com)
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