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Woman charged with scamming Boston bombing victims fund

(Reuters) - ABostonwoman has been indicted with fraudulently obtaining $8,000 from the fund set up for victims ofthe 2013 Boston Marathonbombing, and thousands more from other fundraising, officials said on Thursday.

Investigators found thatJoanna Leigh, 41, was atthe Boston Marathonon April 15, 2013 when two bombs exploded, killing three people and injuring more than 260, but they argued that she was not injured, theBoston Police Departmentsaid in a statement.

Leigh was indicted earlier this month by aSuffolk Countygrand jury on five larceny counts and a charge of making a false claim to the government, the police department said.

It said Leigh received $8,000 from The One FundBoston, which raised nearly $80 million in the aftermath of the attack. She also received a combined $28,700 from a middle school fundraiser, an online campaign and theMassachusettsVictims of Violent Crime Compensation fund, according to the police statement.

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The news comes as the trial of accused bomber, 21-year-oldDzhokhar Tsarnaevtakes place inBoston. Tsarnaev could be sentenced to death if he is convicted.

Police said Leigh did not seek medical treatment for about two weeks after the bombing, and when she did, she called herself a "hero" who ran toward the second explosion.

"At a time when most people were asking how they could help, others were wondering how they could benefit,"Suffolk CountyDistrict AttorneyDaniel Conleywas quoted as saying in the police statement.

Leigh, who is set to be arraigned on Monday, toldthe Boston Globenewspaper that she was injured in the blast, and that the charges were punishment for her criticizing The One FundBostonover its compensation policies.

"I don't think this is about me; I think this is because I spoke out about The One Fund," she told the Globe. "I think this is about killing the messenger. I went after the governor and the mayor's charity, and I didn't shut up about it, and I caused them trouble."

Several others have also been charged with theft from the fund.

In January a woman fromMainewas arrested on charges of scamming $8,000 from The One Fund, and a New York woman was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty last May to fraudulently collecting $480,000 from the fund.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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