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

The Mississippi woman is also accused of stealing the identities of four victims.

A Mississippi woman was indicted for allegedly stealing the identities of four Merrimack Valley gas explosion victims and over $28,000 for them. (WCVB via AP, File)

A Jackson, Mississippi, woman has been indicted for allegedly stealing more than $28,000 from victims of the 2018 Merrimack Valley gas explosions while she worked as an insurance adjuster, Attorney General Maura Healey announced Tuesday.

Local News

Lashaunda Studaway was arraigned Sept. 29 in Essex Superior Court on four counts of identity fraud and two counts of larceny 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 an insurance adjuster, the AG’s office said, she was responsible for handling the financial claims of residents impacted by the gas explosions.


The AG’s office alleges that Studaway stole $28,971 and the identities of four victims impacted by the explosions by dispersing pre-paid debit cards intended for victims to herself.

Studaway did this by submitting false claims under a real claimant’s file or creating a file using a fictitious person’s name, the AG’s office said.

She is due back in court on Dec. 16 for a pre-trial hearing.


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