Woman pleads guilty to lying to get Boston Marathon benefits

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 14, 2015 5:09 PM

(Reuters) - A Massachusetts woman has pleaded guilty to lying about being a victim of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing in order to get almost $40,000 in cash and benefits, prosecutors said.

The woman, Joanna Leigh, 41, of Jamaica Plain, was sentenced in Boston's Suffolk County Superior Court to a year in prison, suspended for a three-year probationary period, District Attorney Daniel Conley said in a statement on Friday.

Leigh also was ordered to pay restitution, perform community service, undergo a mental health evaluation and take part in any necessary treatment, he said.

Leigh claimed to have been injured in the April 15, 2013, blasts at the Marathon that killed three people and wounded 264.

She had actually left the area when the bombs went off. Leigh claimed to have suffered a traumatic brain injury running to help the wounded, the statement said.

The benefits and cash Leigh received included about $900 in cosmetic dermatology for facial redness, a procedure she had undergone at least once before the bombings, it said.

She also got about $8,000 through the One Fund set up for bombing victims and about $1,850 from an elementary school fundraiser, the statement said.

Leigh pleaded guilty to five counts of larceny by false pretenses and one count of making a false claim to a government agency.

Dzokhar Tsarnaev, 22, has been sentenced to death for the bombings he carried out with his brother, who died after a shootout with police.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Diane Craft)