Joanna Leigh Boston Marathon Confession: Fake Victim Pleads Guilty After Scam Is Exposed
Joanna Leigh, a fake Boston Marathon bombings victim, who collected over $40,000 in cash, has pleaded guilty to her crimes, but she will not spend time behind bars. Leigh lied to anyone who would listen and explained that she suffered numerous injuries as she ran to help those, who were impacted by the tragic event.
Joanna Leigh claimed that the Boston Marathon bombings left her severely injured, and she needed thousands of dollars for her medical bills. After collecting over $40,000 from charities – it was revealed that she is a major scammer.
On Friday, Leigh, who was once very vocal about the attack, stayed mute as her web of lies unraveled in a Boston courtroom. An intense investigation into the case revealed that the 41-year-old was never at the 2013 Boston Marathon where two explosions on the sidewalk near the finish line killed three people and injured 264 others.
She attended a viewing party for the event and waited few weeks after the deadly attack to cash in. The woman told the heads of several charity organizations that she suffered injuries as a result of running back to the blast site to help the wounded. She even provided fake photos of herself helping real victims.
Leigh claimed that she suffered traumatic brain injury, hearing and vision loss, and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to local media outlets. The faux victim scammed almost $40,000 from various charities.
She got $8,000 from One Fund Boston, (but was still angry because she wanted hundreds of thousands more because she could have died or become disabled), which was set up for the bombing victims. She was given $9,350 from a GoFundMe account and $1,850 from a fundraiser at the Mildred Avenue Middle School.
The Massachusetts Victims of Violent Crime Compensation program made a donation of $18,000 to Leigh and paid for $900 in cosmetic dermatology services for facial redness. It was later discovered that she had the same procedure before the incident.
During the hearing, Leigh apologized for her crime and promised to pay back the money very fast. The judge decided that Leigh will not serve jail time after she pleaded guilty to five counts of larceny over $250 and one count of making a false claim to a government agency. Here are the conditions she must meet to stay free:
Judge Peter Krupp sentenced her to one year in the House of Correction, suspended for three years, conditional on her successful completion of probation and other conditions. Leigh is ordered to pay full restitution — complete 300 hours of community service, submit to mental health evaluation and treatment as deemed necessary, and will be on probation for an additional three years.
The president of One Fund, James D. Gallagher, issued a statement blasting the liar. Gallagher said:
“It is unfortunate that when the leaders and citizens of our extraordinary city came together to establish the One Fund in the wake of the marathon bombings, there are individuals who saw the fund as an opportunity for fraudulent claims at the expense of the victims.”
Norman Zalkind, Leigh’s lawyer, stated the judge’s sentence was correct and added she did suffer from PTSD. Zalkind explained:
“If she hadn’t lied about certain injuries and had told the truth instead of exaggerating, she would have probably gotten some money anyway.”
What are your thoughts on Joanna Leigh’s big lie?