• 25 Investigates: AG's Office investigating stolen tax dollars meant for disabled kids

    By: Eric Rasmussen , Erin Smith

    Updated:

    LOWELL, Mass. -- A Lowell woman under investigation by the state’s top prosecutor for allegations that she embezzled tax dollars meant for kids with disabilities has since landed a new job at a taxpayer-funded state university, 25 Investigates has learned.

    Investigative Reporter Eric Rasmussen first broke the story in June that police were investigating Amy Young, former director of family support at Chelmsford-based LifeLinks, for embezzling taxpayer money over many years.

    LifeLinks is a nonprofit state contractor that passes along funding from the Department of Developmental Services to adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Lowell area.

    >>PREVIOUS: Nonprofit manager suspected of stealing tax dollars meant for disabled kids

    Now, 25 Investigates has learned Attorney General Maura Healey is handling that criminal investigation.

    Meanwhile, Young landed a new job at the state-funded University of Massachusetts in Lowell.

    25 Investigates caught up with Young outside her office at UMass Lowell on Tuesday, but she wouldn’t answer any questions about the investigation or whether she’s cooperating with the AG’s Office, telling 25 Investigates she was “not interested” in talking.

    “It’s an active investigation. I’ve been told not to comment,” said Young.

    When asked whether her new job includes financial responsibilities, Young told 25 Investigates, “I’m not handling money at this time.”

    25 Investigates obtained an email Young recently sent to UMass Lowell alumni encouraging donations for the university’s upcoming “Days of Giving” event.

    A spokesman for the university confirmed Young was hired in December as a part-time administrative assistant but said UMass Lowell officials had no idea about any of the allegations against her.

    In a statement, a spokesman for UMass Lowell said Young has “no role in the collection or oversight of donations made to the university.”

    Tewksbury mom Lisa Gallagher-Puccia said she was surprised to hear Young was hired by UMass Lowell.

    “I am actually shocked by that,” said Gallagher-Puccia. “UMass is so close to where this all occurred. For them to not know that she was involved with embezzling money – again, I don't know what to say other than I’m shocked.”

    Gallagher-Puccia says Young once helped her daughter take on the challenges of autism. But she and other parents said they became suspicious after social media posts by Young and her family documented frequent vacations to places including Disney World.

    Gallagher-Puccia now insists Young cost her family access to valuable resources.

    “I just can’t wait to have my day in court and I’m sure the other parents can’t wait either,” said Gallagher-Puccia.

    Young has not been criminally charged and the AG’s Office won’t confirm or deny an investigation.

    Chelmsford Police told 25 Investigates last month that they wrapped up their investigation and handed over the case to the Attorney General’s Office.

    After inquiries from 25 Investigates, UMass Lowell said Young was working on a three-month contract, which expires March 31. The university told 25 Investigates that contract won’t be renewed.

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