Now, Gina Clark, the controversial founder of the defunct Cape Cod charity Touched by Angels is in the prosecutorial sites. A Barnstable County grand jury has indicted Ms. Clark (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) . She is charged with good old Massachusetts larceny, fraud, and associated charges, according to the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth alleges that the Defendant stole tens of thousands of dollars from the charity, which was organized to provide financial help to families who had lost loved ones or who were dealing with medical problems.
“These families were targeted by this defendant and sought her help after going through truly traumatic circumstances, either losing a family member or dealing with serious medical conditions,” Attorney General Martha Coakley said in a statement. “By promising these victims financial support and then keeping the money for herself, we allege that this defendant stole tens of thousands of dollars from families in need.”
The Defendant also faced labor law violations. The non-profit itself also faced labor and criminal law violations, prosecutors said.
Attorney Sam’s Take On Massachusetts White Collar Crimes
As we have discussed many times before, the Commonwealth, and, indeed, the federal government no longer treats white collar crimes with a “slap on the wrist”. In fact, the more prestigious or famous the potential defendant or organization is, the harsher the treatment tends to be.
“But, Sam, isn’t it true that these defendants are nonviolent and generally have no criminal record?”
Yes…but, somehow, the government feels that these folks belong behind bars…as examples to others, if nothing else.
We have seen it happen with politicians, businessmen and even volunteers. The funny thing is, though, that many folks who might be indictable do not realize it until law enforcement shows up at their door with the Commonwealth bracelets of shame.
In fact, when such investigations begin, it is often a secret. What surprises me, however, is how many folks still think they are “ok” when investigators come a-callin’. They assume they can rely on the representation that, “Hey, we only want to hear your side of things. We think this is all a bunch of nothing, so we just want to make sure and then you can go on your merry way and we can close this case out.”
The truth is, however, that the real-life translation of that is, “We have pretty much finished the investigation and feel we have more than enough to lock you away for several years. However, we would really appreciate if you could give us some statements that we can wrap around your throat at trial, as icing on our prosecutorial cake.”
The bottom line is the same as always. Particularly in business, funky things can happen with numbers. Accidents and misunderstandings happen. And, yes, crimes happen too. Anytime you learn, or suspect, that you are the subject of a criminal investigation, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney so that you can understand your rights and how best to protect yourself.
If you would like to discuss a criminal matter with me, please feel free to call me to arrange a free initial consultation at 617-492-3000.
To view the original story upon part of this blog is based, please go to : http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/03/25/former_boston_city_councilor_to_begin_prison_term/ , http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/03/25/ex_councilor_chuck_turner_grooms_successor_targets_foes/ and http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2011/03/founder_of_defu.html