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Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - 5:00pm
A New York woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to collecting a fraudulent $480,000 claim from One Fund Boston, a nonprofit that benefits victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, according to the Massachusetts attorney general's office.
Audrea Gause, 27, pleaded guilty to a charge of larceny over $250 and was sentenced by a Superior Court judge to two and a half to three years in prison, according to a statement from state Attorney General Martha Coakley.
"It is disturbing that this defendant would attempt to steal from the real victims of the marathon bombing through fraud and deceit," Coakley said in a statement.
Gause was awarded the $480,000 after submitting forged medical records in June 2013 indicating she had suffered a traumatic brain injury in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that resulted in long-term memory loss, impaired speech and the loss of some motor function that would require future surgery, the attorney general's office said.
An investigation into Gause began after the Massachusetts attorney general received a tip that she was not in Boston at the time of the bombing, Coakley told a news conference in July.
The attorney general's office said that the investigation determined that Gause was not a patient at Boston Medical Center on the day of the bombing nor Albany Medical Center at the times she had indicated on her notarized claim form.
Investigators were later able to secure the nearly half a million dollars that Gause stole and will return it to One Fund Boston, according to the attorney general's office.
The attorney general's office said it has charged two other individuals with attempted fraud of One Fund Boston and that both are awaiting trial.
The One Fund Boston began distributing nearly $61 million to more than 200 claimants starting last June, according to the fund's website.