Boston Marathon Scammer Joanna Leigh Pleads Guilty To Scamming Money
Joanna Leigh, 41, did something that can only be described as criminal, reprehensible and truly unthinkable; after attending a viewing party in April 2013 near the finish of the Boston marathon she scammed five charities and a government agency claiming she had sustained a traumatic brain injury from the bomb that went off just moments later. The truth came out on Friday when she plead guilty to five counts of larceny over $250 and making a false claim to a government agency. It was discovered that though Joanna was near the finish line she left the area before the bombs went off and was never hurt. Early this year Leigh was charged for accepting nearly $40,000 in benefits according to CBS Boston.
Joanna has received $8,000 from The One Fund, around $18,000 from the Massachusetts Victims of Violent Crime Compensation Program, and $9,400 from a GoFundMe page she personally created. A Boston middle school was also scammed when they rallied to raise $1,900 for Leigh believing she was a Boston Marathon victim. Cash was not the only charity Leigh received, she also received dermatology services offered to bombing victims totaling $900. She actually lobbied The One Fund to give her more money and be categorized with the victims that were killed or had limbs amputated.
Leigh claims that she suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from an event that happened earlier in her life and after the bombings she was once again diagnosed with the same thing. She claimed that she suffered from a traumatic brain injury but her claims were proven to be lies. In August 2014 she was separated from her service dog that a non-profit organization called The Service Dog Project paired her with.
We all remember April 13, 2013 when three people were killed and more than 260 more were injured by two bombs that went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. “The defendant [Joanna Leigh] exploited the compassion of people and agencies who wanted to help those in need,” stated Daniel Conley District Attorney. Leigh pled guilty in exchange for a suspended sentence and three hours of probation. The prosecutors recommended that she be sentenced to three years in prison but she was only sentenced to one year. Her lawyer is claiming that she was injured and probably could have gotten the money anyway. He stated that she was criminal for not only claiming she suffered a traumatic brain injury but also for claiming that she was ten feet away from the site where the bombs went off. “My client is fragile,” stated Norman Zalkind, “and has never done anything of a criminal nature before this.” According to CBS Boston Leigh will pay back every bit of the money she received because of her scam using her mother’s retirement savings.