It started with a 40-minute video, in which multiple families and former employees of the now-defunct Marstons Mills-based charity, Touched By Angels, alleged that the organization, along with then-President Gina Clark of Marstons Mills, was guilty of multiple acts of defrauding those who were set to receive donations out of nearly all of the money allegedly raised for them. Touched By Angels, Inc, along with Gina Clark, was indeed indicted nearly two years ago, on May 5, 2011, on multiple charges, consisting of: gross fraud, larceny under $250, larceny over $250, operating and promoting an illegal lottery scheme, and violating wage and hour laws through failure to pay overtime and minimum wage, failure to furnish suitable pay stubs, and misclassification of independent contractors.
Clark, who arrived ten minutes past the appointed time of the court appearance, wore rather understated black pants, black shoes, a black jacket, and a white blouse. She was represented by Joan M. Fund, of Fund & Fitzgerald--a departure from her previous attorney, Seth Roman of Wilkins and DeYoung, who represented her at her arraignment in May 2011. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts was represented by Assistant Attorneys General Karla Zarbo and Steve Adams. The case is being presided over by Judge Robert C. Rufo, who also presided over Clark's May 2011 arraignment.
Clark's trial began with the start of jury selection today. Neither the Attorneys General nor Fund provided a specific amount of time jury selection is expected to take; however, as of 11:30 a.m. today, Rufo, Adams, Zarbo, and Fund were still involved in the time-consuming process of individually speaking with jury members who answered “yes” to any of the questions posed by the judge as part of the jury questionnaire. Judge Rufo also read off an extensive list of names of those who may appear as witnesses or be mentioned by name during the trial. Many names of those who were featured in several preliminary articles, as well as the original video accusing Clark and Touched By Angels, were listed, including: Dawn Hand and Heidi Smith (former employees of TBA), Bobbie Finn, Natalie Duarte, Kim Manchuk, Jan Morrissey, and Jeff Brown (all former members of TBA's alleged 'families'), and multiple individuals from the state Attorney General's office and the Massachusetts Lottery Commission.
Judge Rufo informed the court before jury questioning that the trial is expected to last between three and four weeks. The trial continues from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., every day the court is open, except for April 15, April 22, and April 29. Rufo believes the case should be headed towards completion the week of April 29.