Cape Cod woman gets 4 to 5 years for charity fraud
BARNSTABLE, Mass. (WHDH) -- A Barnstable woman convicted of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a charity she founded to help families dealing with tragedy has been sentenced to up to five years in prison.
Gina Clark was also sentenced Monday in Barnstable Superior Court to 10 years of probation.
“I was trying to help these families the best I could. And I guess I didn’t,” Clark said in court. “In regards to these families, I put my heart and soul into this.”
The 42-year-old Clark was convicted Thursday of 52 charges, including larceny and fraud, after a 17-day trial and 11 hours of jury deliberations.
Prosecutors say between 2007 and 2010, Clark, through her now-defunct charity Touched By Angels Inc., took in tens of thousands of dollars in donations and distributed only a small portion to families she was supposed to help.
The charity was founded to give financial assistance to families who had lost loved ones or dealing with serious medical situations.
Families of victims voiced their heartbreak before the sentencing.
“When we were at our weakest moments, she preyed on that,” said Carol Harnois, a victim. “At least you have your daughters to go home to. I don’t -- and you preyed upon that.”
David Morrissey told the court he confronted Clark about the money she supposedly raised in his son's name.
“Where is the receipt for the money you received 50 feet from where my son died? Where is the receipt for the benefit dinner and where is the receipt for my son's property? Her words were, ‘Your son looking down from heaven would be so angry with you,’” Morrissey said. “So hopefully after today, this thorn that’s in my side will be removed, my wife and I can grieve the way normal people grieve and somehow get on with our lives.”
Clark's attorney said there will be an appeal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.