Day eleven of the trial of Gina Clark and her allegedly fraudulent former charity, Touched By Angels, began today in Barnstable County Superior Court with the further examination of Heidi Smith (now Heidi Perkins), former Touched By Angels employee who was featured in the original accusatory video against the organization and Gina Clark.
Clark's attorney, Joan M. Fund, began cross-examination with asking Smith about the items that the Morrissey family brought to be auctioned off at their benefit. She was also asked if she had dealings with the Harnois family, or the daughter in that family, Katie Smith. She spoke with Katie Smith, but alleged that no real dealings took place between them.
Fund addressed the issue of who paid for paper plates, balloons, and other items that were used at the benefits. Smith did not know who purchased them. Later in her testimony, she stated that she remembered buying balloons at Stop 'n' Shop.
During cross-examination, Smith affirmed that she signed an independent contractor agreement (one of the indictments against Clark alleges independent contractor violations).
Fund's cross-examination mainly focused on inconsistencies between Smith's statements on the witness stand and what she alleged were Smith's statements during previous interviews regarding TBA. Smith agreed with the statement that the proceeds from merchandise sales were to go the families, but Fund then said that Smith was asked the same question in Nov. 2010, and, according to the notes of the detective who interviewed Smith, Smith allegedly said that the family got 80 percent of the proceeds from donations, but not from merchandise, as that money went to “operate Touched By Angels.”
Fund also spent considerable time questioning Smith about exactly what her role in TBA was in regards to handling money. Smith said that she only counted bills, not coins, toward her commission percentage of the donations. According to Smith, the coins were to go to Clark.
Fund also addressed the fact that Smith would make deposits and bring money to the bank on behalf for the organization. Continuing with questioning about fiscal matters, Fund showed Smith an envelope with handwriting that she identified as hers. Smith agreed that the envelopes contained receipts, deposits, and bank statements that she would mail out to the organization's book-keeper.
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The second witness for the Commonwealth in what is projected to be a series of fifty-four witnesses was Thomas Long, former resident of Cape Cod who now lives in Zion, Illinois. In 2007, his wife was diagnosed with cancer. The two were living apart at the time, and upon her diagnosis, he moved “right” back in until the time of her death in January. TBA held a benefit for the family “a week or two” after Long's wife's death. According to Long, the benefit had an auction, a singer, and raffle tickets. Assistant Attorney General Steve Adams asked Long if he ever found out how much money was raised. Long responded that the organization “did not give me a number,” and “they said not much was raised.” A check was sent to the funeral home. Long said he thought it was for $200. Adams asked if it could have been $410, to which Long replied that it could have been. He did not contact TBA for further accounting purposes.
Fund's cross-examination focused again on discrepancies between current testimony and alleged statements given to past investigators. After Long stated that he thought “150 to 200” people attended the benefit for his family, Fund brought up the fact that Long was contacted by Barnstable Police about his experience with TBA, and he allegedly gave a different number of people he believed were at the benefit to that investigator. Judge Rufo upheld opposing council's objection to her question on this matter.
Carol Harnois was then called. Her daughter, Katie Smith, was born in 1990 and died in 2007 from complications due to leukemia. Harnois left her job upon her daughter's diagnosis, creating a financial hardship for her family. Their dealings with TBA started when Harnois and her daughter were at CVS and Smith noticed the TBA sign. Harnois testified that the two of them had an appointment with TBA approximately a week later. They initially spoke to Heidi Smith, she said, and at their second appointment, the two met with Gina Clark. Harnois alleged that Clark told her and her daughter that TBA could organize fundraisers and benefits, and would put out donation jars. At their third meeting with Clark, Harnois said, “Ms. Clark stated that there wasn't going to be a benefit or a fundraiser for my daughter because she [Clark] wasn't feeling appreciated.” Harnois also stated that Clark was in a “foul mood” because she had found out that her masseuse had been fired. Harnois also said that Clark told her daughter at this meeting: “I thought you were getting all better, hon.”
Allegedly, Harnois' daughter was then asked to write out a list of the things she would like from CVS. Clark allegedly told Katie that she could give her three $25 gift cards to Stop 'n' Shop and one $25 gift card to CVS. Harnois said that her daughter never received the cards. Instead, Doane, Beale, and Ames funeral home received a check for $50 after Katie died.
Cross-examination was brief. Fund asked if Harnois knew her daughter's e-mail address whether that address was private, and whether Harnois herself was aware of e-mails back and forth between her daughter and Clark. Harnois answered yes to all of these questions.
The trial is scheduled to continue with normal hours (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.), except on Monday, April 29, when court will not be held, Wednesday, May 1, when court will only be held in the morning, and on Friday, May 3 (of the trial is still continuing), when court will not be held, due to a previous engagement on the part of Judge Rufo.