BOSTON (WWLP) – A Mississippi woman has been indicted in connection to allegedly stealing the identities of four victims from the 2018 Merrimack Valley gas explosions as well as stealing $28,000 while she worked as an insurance adjuster.

Lashaunda Studaway of Jackson, Mississippi was arraigned Thursday in Essex Superior Court for the following charges:

  • Identity Fraud (4 counts)
  • Larceny over $1,200 (2 counts)

According to the Attorney General’s office, from October 2018 through December 2018, Studaway worked as an insurance adjuster on behalf of Columbia Gas responsible for handling financial claims from residents impacted by the gas explosion in September 2018 that heavily damaged homes in the Merrimack Valley region, which killed one person, injured 25 others, caused thousands of dollars in property damage and left thousands without heat and hot water through the cold winter.

Studaway allegedly stole $28,971 as well as the identities of four claimants that were affected by the gas explosions by dispersing pre-paid debit cards to herself when they were supposed to go to those putting in claims. She submitted false claims under a real claimant’s file or create a file using a fake name.

Studaway is due back in court on December 16 for a pre-trial hearing.

To report insurance fraud, you can call the EOLWD/DUA’s Fraud Hotline at 1-800-354-9927.