A New York woman was arrested on Friday for allegedly fraudulently filing forms to receive money from the city’s One Fund, which is meant to help the victims hurt in the April 15, marathon attack, claiming she suffered from a brain injury.
According to officials from Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office, Audrea Gause, of Troy, was apprehended out of state and charged on a Massachusetts fugitive warrant. She was charged with Larceny over $250. “We allege that this defendant defrauded The One Fund Boston of $480,000,” Coakley said. “By doing this, she was stealing money from the real victims of the Marathon bombing, and from the people who gave so generously to help them.”
According to investigators, on June 3, officials from the One Fund, the agency handling the distribution of money to the victims of the Boston Marathon blast on Boylston Street, received a detailed and notarized claim from Gause, which included several pages of fraudulent medical records indicating she was at Boston Medical Center for two days after being injured in the attack. She also filed claims that stated she was later sent to a New York hospital. Coakley’s office alleges that those forms and applications were fraudulent. “The claim allegedly said that Gause sustained a brain injury from the Boston Marathon bombing and experienced long-term memory loss, impaired speech, and loss of some motor function that would require future surgery,” according to the statement.
However, Gause’s claims were still approved for payment from the One Fund account, officials said Friday. At the end of June, One Fund Administrator sent Gause a letter confirming her claim had been approved and subsequently paid that claim.
But after receiving information that Gause wasn’t in Boston at the time of the April attack, Coakley’s office opened an investigation and determined that the alleged suspect was never even a patient at Boston Medical Center.
Mayor Tom Menino was insulted by the suspect’s alleged plan to get money meant solely for those that were impacted by the blasts. “It is terrible to think that people would compound the Marathon tragedy by stealing money from survivors, but I am grateful we have such excellent partners in the Attorney General, in law enforcement, in the One Fund, and in a watchful public,” he said.
This is the second incident involving an accusation of a person filing a fraudulent One Fund claim, trying to fool the distributors of the One Fund’s donations into handing over cash for injuries that were not actually sustained.
In June, Coakley’s office apprehended Branden Mattier, 22, of the South End, at his residence after an undercover state trooper showed up and presented him with a fake check for $2 million, nearly a month after Mattier submitted the application to the One Fund.
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. Police say a subsequent investigation of the claim showed that on May 7, Mattier attended a Town Hall meeting at the Boston Public Library, claiming his aunt had been injured in the blast along Boylston Street on April 15. At the time, she’d already been deceased for more than 10 years.
Officials said Friday that in conjunction with the One Fund, they are actively reviewing all claims submitted to and paid for by the organization. The One Fund’s Board of Directors has also engaged auditors to review the payments and provide additional assurance to donors and survivors. To date, the investigation has not found other fraudulent activity, they said.
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