New York Woman Arrested for Allegedly Defrauding One Fund Boston of $480,000
Woman Claimed to Have Traumatic Brain Injury Due to Boston Marathon Bombing
BOSTON – A New York woman has been arrested and charged with collecting a fraudulent $480,000 claim from The One Fund Boston, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. The woman claimed she suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Audrea Gause, 26, of Troy, N.Y., was arrested in Troy this afternoon 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,” AG 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. I want to thank The One Fund Boston for their work and great cooperation during this investigation, and also thank Albany and Troy Police Departments for their assistance.”
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.
Based on the information contained in the claim and the attached purported medical records, Gause’s claim was approved for payment. At the end of June, The One Fund Administrator sent Gause a letter confirming her claim had been approved and subsequently paid that claim.
After receiving information in the last week that Gause may not have been in Boston during the Marathon Bombing in April, the AG’s office commenced an immediate investigation. That investigation determined that Gause was not a patient at Boston Medical Center on the day of the bombing as claimed. Further investigation also determined that she was not a patient at Albany Medical Center at the times allegedly entered on her notarized claim form.
As a result of this information, investigators took immediate steps to secure the funds for return to The One Fund.
This is the second arrest AG Coakley’s office has made in connection with attempted fraud of The One Fund. Earlier this month, a Boston man was also arrested and charged with attempting to defraud The One Fund by allegedly submitting a $2 million dollar fraudulent claim on behalf of his aunt. In that case, The One Fund detected the fraud before the claim had been processed and referred the suspicious activity immediately to the AG’s Office for investigation. A third instance of alleged fraud was also identified by The One Fund; the claimant withdrew the claim before any payments were made.
“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,” said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
Gause was arrested by State Police assigned to the Massachusetts AG’s Office, with assistance from the Troy Police Department, on a fugitive warrant this afternoon in Troy, N.Y.
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. The AG’s Office encourages anyone who may have information about other potential fraud to contact State Police assigned to the AG’s Office at 617-963-2223.
This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Gina Masotta of the AG’s Public Integrity Division, investigators Sallyann Nelligan and Jaclyn Morrill, Victim Advocate Lisa Solecki and State Police assigned to the AG’s Office. The Albany Police Department, the Troy Police Department, and the New York Attorney General’s Office made significant contributions to the investigation. The One Fund Boston also cooperated throughout the investigation.