Boston Man Arrested For Filing Fraudulent Request For One Fund Money
In a One Fund scam, the suspect allegedly used his dead aunt’s name by claiming she was hurt in the Boston Marathon bombing.
Authorities arrested a Boston man on Tuesday after he allegedly submitted a claim to the One Fund, using his deceased aunt’s name, in order to receive more than $2 million from the charity—money that is intended for victims of the Marathon bombing.
According to Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office, Branden Mattier, 22, of the South End, was arrested at his residence after an undercover state trooper showed up and presented him with a fake check, nearly a month after Mattier allegedly submitted the application to the One Fund. “We allege that this defendant attempted to defraud The One Fund of more than $2 million,” Coakley said in a statement. “Because every dollar was allocated to victims, he sought to take these funds away from real victims of the Marathon attack and from the thousands of people who had so generously given to help those who truly need it. We commend The One Fund for uncovering this and for referring it to our office for further investigation.”
According to the report, officials suspected that Mattier’s claim on behalf of his aunt, Onevia Bradley, was not legitimate, and reported it to the AG’s office in June.
A subsequent investigation of the false claim showed that on May 7, Mattier allegedly attended a Town Hall meeting at the Boston Public Library, claiming his aunt, who was deceased, had actually been injured in the blast along Boylston Street on April 15.
A Reuters report covering the May 7 meeting claims Mattier told reporters he flew back from Atlanta, to Boston, to file a claim for his aunt so she could get compensation for her injuries. “I’d like for my aunt to be compensated immediately. Those hospital bills are coming in immediately,” he said the day of the meeting.
On May 29, officials said Mattier followed up on his visit to the community meeting by sending an email to the One Fund, asking if his aunt could make a claim and qualify as a double amputee, if the amputation was expected to be performed in the future. The One Fund recently began distributing money to victims of the attack after they raised more than $61 million in donations. People who lost both of their legs as a result of the bombing were being awarded roughly $2 million to offset medical costs.
Shortly after sending an email to the people accepting the claims, Mattier’s claim form arrived along with a letter allegedly written by the chief of trauma services at Boston Medical Center, backing up his story that his aunt was a double amputee.
The AG’s office said in the report issued Tuesday that the letter was fake:
Officials at the Boston Medical Center [said] Mattier’s aunt never received treatment at the hospital in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing nor did the letter originate from the trauma center. The investigation further revealed through public records that Onevia Bradley had actually died more than 10 years earlier.
As part of the investigation, Mattier received a fake letter telling him he would receive the $2 million request via a courier on Tuesday morning. The courier was actually an undercover state police officer who then arrested Mattier after delivering the simulated check. Mattier is scheduled to face charges in Boston Municipal Court on Wednesday.
Mattier, who is a known rapper in the Boston community and goes by the name “Bentley,” took photos of himself during the times he attended meetings about making claims for the One Fund money.
One photo, which Mattier posted to his Instagram account, shows the aspiring rapper with Ken Feinberg, the administrator chosen by city officials to handle the incoming donations since the marathon attack. Mattier bragged that he had talked with Feinberg about ways to help people in the city cope with the tragedy:
On the day of the Marathon bombing, Mattier, who remains active on social media due to his music distribution efforts through YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter, and describes himself as an entrepreneur and filmmaker, tweeted a “prayer” for the city: