Joanna Leigh, 41, admitted to scamming funds that were slated to go to the Boston Marathon victims. Leigh collected close to $40,000 from funds set up for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and was continuing to do so, until an investigation caught her in the lies. She pleaded guilty in court on Friday to all charges brought against her.
According to CNN News on November 14, Leigh who hails from the Jamaica Plain section of Boston, was charged with “five counts of larceny over $250 by false pretenses and one count of making a false claim to a government agency.” While Leigh was at an event before the Boston Marathon started, she was nowhere near where the bombs went off.
While claiming she was injured in the marathon attack, it was suspicious that she waited for two weeks after the event to seek treatment. Her claimed injuries were PTSD, hearing loss, a traumatic brain injury and vision loss. She took the good folks of Boston for a ride including a middle school that raised $1,850 in a fundraiser.
She also raked in $9,350 by creating a GoFundMe page, using someone else’s name. She received $8,000 from One Fund Boston and the Massachusetts Victims of Violent Crime Compensation program awarded her $18,000 in cash. She also underwent cosmetic surgery for facial redness, which was paid for with funding, but it was learned this was a condition she had before the Boston Marathon.
The Spread It reports that Leigh claimed she got her injuries when running back to the Boston Marathon bombing scene to help the victims and she even provided fake photos when offering proof! She wasn’t shy about claiming she was a victim. Leigh has been very vocal describing her fake injuries since that horrific event in Boston, which she was nowhere near.
It was when Leigh aggressively went after a seven-figure distribution from One Fund and creating a public campaign that red flags went up. Using clips from the scene in Boston, from both before and after the bombings, police were able to piece together Leigh’s actual whereabouts that day. While she was at a viewing party for the event, she wasn’t at the Boston Marathon. She wasn’t anywhere near the finish line of the Boston Marathon where the bombings took place.
While the prosecutors were looking for three years in jail for her crimes, the judge gave her one-year in jail, but suspended the sentence in lieu of three years probation. She will have to make restitution and and she will also have to do 300 hours of community service.
Leigh’s attorney, Norman Zalkind said that Leigh did suffer from PTSD due to that day but, “If she hadn’t lied about certain injuries and had told the truth instead of exaggerating, she would have probably gotten some money anyway.”