Trial starts in Barnstable charity fraud case

BARNSTABLE, Mass. (WHDH) — A Cape Cod woman who was indicted for allegedly embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from a non-profit charity she founded appeared in district court Wednesday.

Prosecutors say Gina Clark, 42, of Marston Mills, stole from the charity Touched By Angels which raises money for families dealing with tragedy or overwhelming medical bills.

"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. "We allege that this defendant took advantage of their vulnerable situation to victimize them again for her own personal gain. 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."

Clark allegedly pressured the families into signing contracts to let her collect donations for them by publicizing their tragedies.

“Gina Clark of Touched By Angels stole the money that they were entrusted to raise for the families,” said Steve Adams, Assistant Attorney General.

Kaycee Jackson said after her friend died in a car accident, Clark used Touched By Angels to victimize her friend’s family in the same way.

“They’re very upset. It’s not really so much about the money, you know, it’s about their daughter,” said Jackson.

Clark’s defense attorney, however, told the jury to keep an open mind because she says her client is innocent.

“What you will find at the end of this trial, is that these indictments are false, and the fact that the government brought those is outrageous,” said Joan M. Fund, defense attorney.

Clark is also accused of defrauding her employees at Touched By Angels and the businesses that donated to the charity.

Families who were allegedly victimized by Clark are expected to testify at her trial.