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Springfield — Two Springfield women were indicted in connection with stealing more than $14,000 through various larceny schemes, including defrauding state agencies of benefits and stealing from a local women’s shelter, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
Lynn Minella, 50, of Springfield, was indicted yesterday by a Hampden County Grand Jury on the charges of Larceny Over $250 (2 counts), Conspiracy to Commit Larceny (1 count), Forgery (2 counts), and Failure to Disclose any Material Fact Affecting Eligibility or Level of Benefits (1 count).
Jody Farber-Winters, 47, of Springfield, was also indicted yesterday by a Hampden County Grand Jury on the charges of Larceny Over $250 (2 counts) and Forgery (2 counts). Both defendants will be arraigned in Hampden County Superior Court at a later date.
The Bureau of Special Investigations in Massachusetts State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump’s Office began an investigation into Minella and Farber-Winters in 2015 after a referral from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
Minella worked as an advocate at a local women’s shelter. Authorities allege that between 2013 through 2015, Minella stole more than $4,000 in donated gift cards intended for shelter participants. She allegedly used these gift cards to purchase furniture for herself and her family members.
Authorities further allege that Minella conspired with Farber-Winters to apply for RAFT (Residential Assistance for Families in Transition), a homelessness prevention program funded by DHCD that provides short-term financial assistance to low-income families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Minella and Farber-Winters allegedly applied for these benefits by using the identities of shelter participants, creating a fake property management company and forging housing court documents to steal more than $3,000 in benefits.
Authorities also allege that Minella defrauded MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program. An investigation revealed that Minella allegedly did not tell MassHealth about changes to her status, including her employer-sponsored health insurance availability, and as a result defrauded MassHealth out of more than $7,000 in benefits.
These charges are allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Vasiliades of AG Healey’s Criminal Bureau. This case was investigated by Massachusetts State Auditor’s Bureau of Special Investigations and the Massachusetts State Police.