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First of seven pleads guilty to fraudulent claims to MSU's fund for survivors of Nassar's abuse

Posted at 5:01 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 17:01:14-04

MSU CAMPUS — The first of seven people charged with defrauding Michigan State University’s healing fund designated for survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse, has pleaded guilty in Ingham County Circuit Court.

Tammy Johnson, of Clinton Township, pleaded guilty to one count of using false pretenses by making fraudulent claims to the university to receive tens of thousands of dollars from MSU’s healing fund.

She was able to obtain more than $20,000 from the fund reserved for Nassar’s survivors by submitting fraudulent claims of counseling sessions she didn’t actually receive to MSU seeking reimbursement.

The $10 million healing fund, started in December of 2017 as part of a $500 million settlement between the university and hundreds of Nassar’s survivors, was short-lived. The discovery of Johnson’s fraudulent claims and six others charged with similar crimes led MSU to close the fund in July 2018 while they worked out a new fund that wouldn’t allow for such claims.

“The Counseling and Mental Health Services Fund is set up to support survivors who were abused by Larry Nassar and their ongoing recovery efforts,” university spokesperson Emily Guerrant said. “We appreciate those who uncovered the fraudulent activities and our court system for bringing justice to this situation.”

Overall, the seven people charged with using false pretenses and other crimes are estimated to have received more than $527,000 from the healing fund. Several of the defendants also face charges of using a computer to commit a crime which could be punishable by up to ten years in prison.

The others charged in defrauding the healing fund are Donita Johnson, Marcetta Johnson, Porter Johnson, Maxann Reese, Corey Riley, and Mary Riley according to 52B District Court records.

Tammy Johnson will be sentenced in June. Johnson’s attorney Rico Neal did not respond to our request for comment Wednesday.

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