By Jim Smith
BOSTON — The 26-year-old South Boston woman accused of faking ovarian cancer in order to swindle thousands of dollars out of unsuspecting residents of Dorchester and South Boston was indicted last Tuesday by a Suffolk County grand jury on two counts of larceny. If convicted, she faces 10 years in prison.
Prosecutors claim that Kristen Clougherty fraudulently amassed more than $40,000, most of it from a fund-raiser on her behalf in June at the Old Colony Yacht Club in Dorchester She then spent much of that money, investigators say, for clothes, luxury hotel rooms, trips, a new car, and a downpayment on breast enlargement surgery that she later decided not to have.
At a press conference on Nov. 23 announcing the indictments, Suffolk County assistant district attorney Jeremy Silverfine said that Clougherty quickly used up most of that cash during the summer. She then embarked on another scam, he said, organizing an October road race in South Boston to raise more money for herself.
Residents of South Boston, who learned of the apparent hoax after a criminal complaint was filed in South Boston District Court in September, then took control of the road race and raised more than $10,000 for ovarian cancer research.
Rumors and unconfirmed reports say that Clougherty may be undergoing an evaluation in an unidentified psychiatric facility. Neither Clougherty nor her lawyer, Charles Clifford, have made any public statements about the case. Reached last week by the Echo, Clifford said that he has "no comment."
Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter
Among those who befriended Clougherty and helped to organize the June fund-raiser in Dorchester was State Rep. Martin Walsh, who is himself a cancer survivor. He told the Echo last Friday that he and most people in South Boston and Dorchester have little sympathy for Clougherty.
"There’s a lot of anger toward her, that she could actually do something like this," he said. "We’re having another fund-raiser right now for a little boy who is very sick, and to think that someone could do this is a real shame. The Irish-American community came out big time for her as they usually do in these kinds of situations. It’s disgusting what she’s done."
Clougherty is scheduled to be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court this Friday.