Boston victim claim in name of long-dead aunt thwarted: Prosecutor

BOSTON (REUTERS) - Police arrested a man on Tuesday over allegations he used the name of an aunt who had been dead for more than a decade to try and claim about US$2.2 million (S$2.8 million) from the Boston Marathon bomb victims fund, prosecutors said.

The Massachusetts Attorney General's office said Boston man Branden Mattier, 22, told the fund's administrators that his aunt lost both of her legs in the attack on April 15 when two improvised pressure cooker bombs exploded at the finish line, killing three people and injuring 264 others.

But the aunt had been dead for more than a decade and Mattier was arrested at his home in Boston when an undercover police officer presented him with a fake check for US$2.195 million, prosecutors said.

"He sought to take these funds away from real victims of the Marathon attack and from the thousands of people who had so generously given to help those who truly need it," Attorney General Martha Coakley said in a statement.

Mattier is being charged with attempted larceny, the prosecutor said. Mattier was not immediately available to comment.

The marathon bombing victims fund, called The One Fund, was established by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. It has so far brought in more than US$60 million in donations, according to its website.

The fund is being managed by Mr Kenneth Feinberg, an arbitration attorney who also oversaw compensation for victims of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks and the theatre shootings in Aurora, Colorado.

Two ethnic Chechen brothers were identified by the FBI as suspects in the marathon bombing.

The younger of the two, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is being held after being indicted by a grand jury on charges that would carry the death penalty if he were convicted.

His older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died in a shootout with police days after the bombing.