Insurance adjuster allegedly stole $28,000 from victims of gas explosion in Merrimack Valley


The Mississippi woman is also accused of impersonating four victims.

A Mississippi woman has been charged with allegedly stealing the identities of four victims of a Merrimack Valley gas explosion and more than $28,000 for them. (WCVB via AP, File)

A Jackson, Mississippi woman has been charged with allegedly stealing more than $28,000 from victims of the 2018 Merrimack Valley gas explosions while working as an insurance adjuster, the attorney general announced Tuesday. Maura Healey.

Lashaunda Studaway was arraigned Sept. 29 in Essex Superior Court on four counts of impersonation and two counts of theft over $1,200, the AG’s office said in a news release.

From October to December 2018, Studaway worked as an insurance adjuster for Columbia Gas. Columbia Gas pipelines exploded in September 2018, killing one person and destroying homes in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

As a claims adjuster, the AG’s office said, she was responsible for handling financial claims from residents affected by the gas explosions.

The AG’s office alleges that Studaway stole $28,971 and the identities of four victims affected by the explosions by scattering prepaid debit cards intended for the victims.

Studaway did so by submitting false statements as part of an actual applicant’s record or by creating a record using a fictitious person’s name, the AG’s office said.

She is due back in court on December 16 for a preliminary hearing.


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