The One Fund Boston was set up by Mayor Tom Menino and Gov. Deval Patrick to help those affected by the Marathon bombings. Credit: www.onefundboston.org.
A New York woman who defrauded the fund meant to help the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings used hundreds of thousands of dollars to secure construction of a brand new home for herself and will now be living behind bars.
Audrea Gause, 27, of Troy, N.Y., pleaded guilty on Tuesday to larceny over $250 during a hearing at Suffolk Superior Court. She was sentenced to serve between 2 1/2 years and three years in state prison, according to the attorney general's office. Prosecutors had sought the maximum sentence of five years in jail.
Authorities said that Gause submitted a notarized claim to the One Fund about two months after the bombings. The claims, which came with purported medical records from Boston Medical Center, explained that Gause suffered a brain injury from the bombings as well as impaired speech and a loss of motor function. Based on the claim and medical records, the One Fund sent her a check for $480,000.
Of the money received, Gause spent more than $377,000 on a down payment for a new construction home. Prosecutors also said she singed up for a "Heroes Cruise" that was being offered for free to the bombing victims.
Investigators later received information that Gause was not in Boston during the Marathon. An inquiry found that she was not a patient at Boston Medical Center on the day of the bombings as she claimed. She was arrested in New York in July 2013.
Authorities seized the money that was given to her and it will be returned to the One Fund.
"It is disturbing that this defendant would attempt to steal from the real victims of the Marathon bombing through fraud and deceit," Attorney General Martha Coakley said in a statement.
Coakley's office also charged two brothers from Boston in August 2013 for their alleged attempt to defraud the One Fund of $2 million by submitting a false claim for their dead aunt. They have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled for trial in June.