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N.Y. woman accused of false claim on Boston Marathon victim fund

By Francesca Trianni

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York woman was charged on Friday with attempted larceny for collecting a fraudulent $480,000 claim from a charity set up to benefit victims of the April Boston Marathon bombing, prosecutors said.

The Massachusetts Attorney General's office said Audrea Gause, 26, of Troy, 155 miles north of New York City, claimed she had suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the April 15 bombing and filed a fraudulent request to the One Fund Boston, a charity that has raised more than $64 million for victims. Three people were killed and 264 were injured in the blasts.

According to the charges, Gause said she experienced long-term memory loss, impaired speech and loss of some motor function. When authorities received information that Gause may have not been in Boston during the marathon bombing, they opened an investigation.

"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," Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said in a statement.

Gause could not be reached for comment and it was unclear on Friday if she had retained an attorney.

She is the second person charged with defrauding the fund. Earlier in July, a Boston man was charged with larceny for allegedly submitting a $2 million dollar fraudulent claim on behalf of his aunt, who had been dead for more than a decade.

The fund is being managed by Kenneth Feinberg, an arbitration attorney who also oversaw compensation for victims of the 9/11 attacks and the theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado.

About 250 people have applied for money from the One Fund charity, set up to benefit the families of those killed in the blasts and those who lost limbs.

(Reporting by Francesca Trianni; Editing by Scott Malone, Toni Reinhold)

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