NY woman accused of fraudulently receiving $480K from One Fund - New York News

NY woman accused of fraudulently receiving $480K from the One Fund

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TROY, NY (MyFoxBoston.com) -- A New York woman has been arrested amid allegations that she fraudulently collected $480,000 from the One Fund Boston.

Audrea Gause, 26, of Troy, N.Y., was arrested in her hometown Friday on a fugitive from justice warrant out of Massachusetts. She is charged with larceny over $250.

Attorney General Martha Coakley's office claims the One Fund received a detailed, notarized claim from Gause on June 3 that included medical records. Gause reportedly claimed she stayed at Boston Medical Center for two days and Albany Medical Center for 10 days.

Gause is accused of claiming she sustained a brain injury in the bombings that resulted in long-term memory loss, impaired speech, and a loss of motor function.

One Fund administrators informed Gause at the end of June that her claim had been approved for $480,000.

Last week, Coakley's office began investigating Gause's claim after receiving information that indicated Gause was not in Boston at the time of the April 15 marathon bombings. Upon investigation, Coakley's office learned Gause was not a patient at Boston Medical or Albany Medical Center.

Investigators claim Gause tried to use the funds she received to buy a home.

"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," said Coakley Friday.

The attorney general's office is working alongside One Fund administrators to review all claims submitted and paid out. Administrators have also brought in auditors to review payments.

"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 is the second person who has been accused of submitting a false claim to the One Fund.

Earlier this month, 22-year-old Branden Mattier, of Boston, was charged with larceny amid accusations that he submitted a nearly $2 million claim to the fund. Investigators claim Mattier used his dead aunt's name on the false claim. Mattier was arrested after receiving a simulated check.

A total of 232 claimants received the nearly $61 million raised for marathon victims by the end of June. For 69 of the 232 claimants, One Fund administrators used a system based on the number of nights they spent in the hospital to decide how much they would receive. The funding ranged from $125,000 for one to two nights, to $948,300 for 32 or more nights.

Twenty other claimants who suffered a loss of life, amputations, or permanent injury received between $1,195,000 and $2,195,000, while 143 others who did not require a hospital stay received $8,000.

Shortly after the process for divvying up the funds was announced, the Mass. Bar Association criticized the process, calling it flawed. Mass. Bar Association claimed many victims did not receive the compensation they deserve under the chosen method.

Anyone who may have information about potential fraud related to the One Fund is asked to call the AG's office at 617-963-2223.

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