N.Y. Woman Collected Fraudulent One Fund Claim, Attorney General Alleges

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A New York woman has been arrested for allegedly collecting a fraudulent $480,00 claim from The One Fund Boston, the charitable fund to help victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, the Massachusetts attorney general announced Friday afternoon.

The woman, 26-year-old Audrea Gause, of Troy, N.Y., claimed she suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the April 15 attack.

She was charged Friday with larceny over $250.

In a press release, Attorney General Martha Coakley's office detailed the alleged fraud:

The AG’s investigation revealed that on June 3, One Fund officials received a detailed and notarized claim from Gause, which included several pages of purported medical records, indicating that she had been hospitalized at the Boston Medical Center for two days, and thereafter at the Albany Medical Center for ten days. 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.

Gause's claim was approved, and she received the One Fund money late last month. But last week, the attorney general's office received information that Gause may not have been in Boston during the bombing. That set off the office's investigation.

"By doing this," Coakley said in the release, "she was stealing money from the real victims of the Marathon bombing, and from the people who gave so generously to help them."

That's nearly the same comment as one Coakley made after a Boston man was arrested July 2 for allegedly filing a false One Fund claim, for $2.2 million, on behalf of his long-dead aunt.

That man, Branden Mattier, 22, of the city's Sound End, pleaded not guilty and was held on cash bail on July 3.

Update at 4 p.m.: Another detail from the press release:

The AG’s Office, in conjunction with The One Fund, is actively reviewing all claims submitted to and paid by The One Fund. 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.

This program aired on July 19, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

Benjamin Swasey Twitter Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.




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