While most of us were in a state of shock after the Boston Marathon bombing, others decided to stoop to the lowest of lows. “How low,” you might ask? Imagine defrauding the charities established to help victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Thankfully, charges have been brought against the perpetrator of this lowly scam.
Massachusetts authorities recently charged a 26 year old New Yorker with larceny and gross fraud. While the charges may not seem like much, when we dig a bit deeper, there’s more than meets the eye with this alleged scam. How much did she steal and how far did she go top accomplish her scam? Let’s find out.
Gross Fraud against Boston Marathon Charity
One Fund Boston is a nonprofit organization established in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. Back in June, over 200 people who filed claims were eligible for the charity’s $61 million in funds. The problem is not every claim made was legitimate.
Enter Audrea Gause, a 26 year old New York woman.
The New York woman claimed to have suffered traumatic brain injuries that resulted from the bombing. Here’s what CNN reports:
“Gause was awarded $480,000 from the fund after claiming she suffered a traumatic brain injury resulting in long-term memory loss, impaired speech and loss of some motor function that would require future surgery as a result of the Boston Marathon bombing, the attorney general’s office said.”
But Gause wasn’t even in Boston during the marathon. Someone tipped off the Massachusetts state attorney general and One Fund Boston. A formal investigation followed:
“That investigation determined that Gause was never a patient at Boston Medical Center for two days or Albany Medical Center for 10 days, as she declared on her notarized claim form”
If stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from One Fund Boston wasn’t enough, Gause even signed up for a cruise called the “Heroes Cruise” meant for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Fraudsters Get Caught
The charges come after Audrea Gause’s claim was investigated by the Massachusetts Attorney General and One Fund Boston.
Here’s what Massachusetts Attorney General Maratha Coakley said at a news conference on July 19th:
“This defendant allegedly attempted to steal from the real victims of the Marathon bombing and we are pleased that we are able to recover this money for The One Fund Boston.”
Judging by the tone of state officials, it seems that they’re pretty convinced of their allegations. Thankfully, One Fund Boston seems to have recovered all of the funds defrauded by Gause.
Of the nearly half a million dollars she conned, $377,500 was given to a construction company as a down payment on a new home. All of the money has since been returned to One Fund Boston.
What Do You Think?
Are you surprised that that someone would do this? Do the charges match the crime? Does Gause’s particularly bold behavior deserve harsher charges? Let us know what you think in the comments section!