A guilty verdict today was delivered to a heartless charity founder who stole from families suffering the worst tragedies, sending the Cape Cod woman's supporters into shouts and cries in the Barnstable courtroom and bringing the years-long drama to a close.
Gina Clark, founder and president of Touched by Angels, was found guilty on all counts after a 17-day trial that exposed Clark as a conniving manipulator who told families she would help raise money for things like funeral expenses for children who had just died but instead kept some of the money for herself.
As the jury forewoman pronounced "guilty" to each of the 52 counts read by the magistrate, Clark began to cry and her supporters sobbed in the courtroom. The sobs turned to shouts after the judge revoked her bail and Clark was taken into custody.
Clark and her charity purported to raise money for families dealing with the recent death or serious illness. She promised to pay a percentage of the proceeds raised but in some cases families received as little as $50 to $200, according to the state Attorney General's office, which prosecuted Clark. In all, she defrauded more than a dozen families out of more than $100,000.
In an exclusive interview, she told FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet in 2010 that she had nothing to fear because she didn't do anything wrong. As the allegations were swirling around her, she showed FOX Undercover the tattoo she had put on her leg to help her get through: it was the title to her new favorite song, "I Will Survive."
Victims will have a chance to tell the judge what Clark deserves when impact statements begin Monday morning.
She was convicted of gross fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, 15 counts of larceny by embezzlement over $250, each of which carries a maximum five-year penalty, and other, more minor charges.