Reporting Bill Shields
BOSTON (CBS) – A woman who claimed she suffered a traumatic brain injury in the Boston Marathon bombings has been charged with collecting a fraudulent $480,000 claim from The One Fund Boston.
Audrea Gause, 26, of Troy, New York, was arrested in Troy Friday afternoon on a Massachusetts fugitive warrant. She’s charged with larceny over $250.
According to Attorney General Martha Coakley, the One Fund received a “detailed and notarized claim” from Gause on June 3. She said the blast left her with long-term memory loss, impaired speech, and a loss of some motor function that would require future surgery.
The claim, according to Coakley, ”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.”
“Based on the information contained in the claim and the attached purported medical records, Gause’s claim was approved for payment,” Coakley said in a statement, adding that Gause was then sent the money at the end of June.
“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,” Coakley said in a statement.
Investigators discovered that Gause was not a patient at BMC on the day of the bombing as she claimed and that the Albany Medical Center visits were also false.
Gause made some comments on Facebook that lead to one of her “friends” calling police. “We got a tip,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley, “that she had fabricated and altered documents.”
“I hate to say it but she did a really good job of falsifying the claims,” Troy Police Captain John Cooney told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.
Gause received the money from the One Fund, then, went to a home builder with almost $380,000 cash for a house. The builder was suspicious, and asked her to come back with a cashier’s check. It was at about the same time that one of Gause’s friends on Facebook also had suspicions about her new found wealth, and notified police.
“Something we appreciate is that the home-builder decided to have her come back with a cashier’s check and that certainly has added to the evidence here,” Captain Cooney said. “But she did obtain a check and sign a contract for the home.”
The money is now secured. “It’s really outrageous,” said Coakley, “because the need is so great for money, to help the victims. And we’ll be reviewing all of the awards.”
This is the second arrest in connection with attempted fraud of The One Fund.
A South End man was arrested earlier this month and charged with filing a false $2 million claim.
WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields contributed to this report.