Springfield woman admits to stealing thousands in gift cards meant for homeless

SPRINGFIELD, MASS. (WHDH) - A Springfield woman has admitted to stealing thousands of dollars worth of gift cards that were donated to a homeless shelter to buy furniture for herself and her family members, Attorney General Maura Healey announced.

Lynn Minella, 51 pleaded guilty Tuesday in Hampden County Superior Court to two counts of larceny over $250, conspiracy to commit larceny, attempt to commit larceny Over $250, and two counts of forgery of a birth certificate.

She will be sentenced Sept. 27.

Between 2013 and 2015, Minella, who worked as an advocate at a local women’s shelter, stole more than $4,300 in donated gift cards intended for shelter participants and used them to buy furniture for herself and her family members.

The AG’s Office also found that Minella and another woman, Jody Farber-Winters, used identities of shelter participants to apply for RAFT benefits and then used a fake property management company and forged housing court documents to steal more than $3,900 in benefits.

Both Minella and Farber-Winters were indicted in September 2017.

Farber-Winters pled guilty to all counts in April 2018 and was sentenced to three years of probation and restitution.


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