Chelsea has come a long way in fighting crime, and according to local officials, the last thing the city needs is to have to fight crime that doesn’t exist.
Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley’s office announced last Friday that charges are being filed against a former MBTA Route 111 bus driver for faking an armed robbery while driving her Chelsea route in order to collect worker’s compensation payments.
The October 2007 incident gained quite a bit of attention from the news media – especially since the initial facts reported that the driver had been shot and robbed while driving on Exeter Street.
It was unheard of and unprecedented.
And now, it appears that it could still be unheard of and unprecedented.
Chief Brian Kyes said it is the last thing that Chelsea needed at the time, more bad publicity just as the City was really turning a corner.
“It is unfortunate whenever we in law enforcement learn or discover that some people choose to abuse the criminal justice system for their own self benefit or personal gain,” he said. “Not only are these fraudulent acts illegal but they also instill an unwarranted escalation in the perception of the fear of crime in our community that is completely unjustified and is extremely difficult if not impossible to reverse.”
Conley’s office told the Record that Parker is being charged with worker’s compensation fraud, making a false police report and misleading an investigator.
Parker, 53, allegedly laid false claim to more than $7,000 in worker’s comp funds.
The genesis of the incident was on Oct. 2, 2007 when Parker was driving her Route 111 bus on Garfield Avenue and Exeter Street in Chelsea.
She made a frantic call to the Chelsea Police for shots being fired, and the CPD and the Transit Police immediately responded. Parker told investigators at the scene that she was headed inbound on her route when she stopped to pick up a passenger. The alleged male passenger pulled out a gun as soon as he entered the bus, she said, and then demanded money and shot her once as she sat on her driver’s seat.
She told them she tried to rush past him and flee out the door of the bus, and in the process was was shot three more times.
The passenger, she said, then pushed her to the ground outside of the bus and stole her wallet at gunpoint and fled.
Parker gave a detailed description.
She claimed she had no idea who he was or why he robbed her.
It led investigators to circulate a detailed sketch of the man around Chelsea and to post that sketch on the Mass Most Wanted website.
Eventually, investigators honed in on one man who had been suspected of similar robberies in the past and put him under their full investigative powers.
But he was cleared, obviously having no connection, and investigators were stumped.
That’s when things with Parker started to get a little weird.
Her MBTA jacket with three “bullet” holes began to be questioned.
Also, authorities were a little curious as to why she left work and filed a worker’s compensation claim – which netted $7,750 in payments and $2,063 in medical bills – after having been robbed.
With no other leads, Transit Police investigators decided to turn back to Parker and called her in for an interview.
In that interview, she shockingly revealed that she had lied, and that she knew the robber. She said that it was a former intimate partner who had sent the unknown gunman to collect a $5,000 debt from 14 years prior.
Seemed a little fishy as well.
But investigators checked it out, and it led to a dead end.
When investigators tried to contact her again, she was allegedly evasive and once, she allegedly shouted profanities as they tried to question her.
That’s when it became clear to investigators that Parker had possibly staged the robbery just to go on worker’s comp, and that’s exactly what they charged her with in 2009 in Chelsea District Court. Amazingly, though, a Chelsea Court judge threw the case out in 2010.
Last year, Conley’s office put the case in front of a Grand Jury, and that body returned an indictment on Dec. 20th.
Her arraignment last week made it official, and set her trial date for Oct. 15th.
Perhaps then, Chelsea officials hope, they can be cleared of the negative perceptions brought about by this fantastic and, perhaps, fictitious case.