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Jamaica Plain woman indicted on charges she faked brain injuries to claim One Fund money

WCVB reports authorities now believe Joanna Leigh was several blocks away from the Marathon explosions and that she faked brain injuries to suck money out of the One Fund, people who saw the GoFundMe page she set up, students at a Boston school and a doctor who donated services.

In 2013, she complained the One Fund wasn't giving her enough because her brain injuries didn't manifest themselves right away.

Last year, well wishers mounted a large search to find her service dog after she went missing.

Innocent, etc.

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Despicable.

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It's hard not to see the screaming red flags all over the place. Just revolting.

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Did you read a different article than I did? The Washington Post article linked in the post is about numerous doctors, including a "national expert," diagnosing her with traumatic brain injury, and her claiming the One Fund won't pay people with injuries like hers because she was treated as an outpatient and the symptoms didn't manifest until days later.

The WCVB article alleges she wasn't actually where she claimed to be on the day of the bombing, but doesn't go into any detail or provide any evidence to explain that allegation. And it doesn't even try to allege she's faking the injuries, just that she may not have gotten them from being 10' away from the bomb going off, as she claimed in 2013. Until the court records WCVB cites are made public, there's really no way to evaluate what's going on here.

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At which point more info will come out. In the meantime, the Globe interviewed her last night; she's claiming retribution for speaking out about the One Fund.

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It quotes her ONE doctor and a doctor from BYU who is speaking generally about traumatic brain injury. It says she "saw" a neurologist, a psychotherapist, an eye doctor, a hearing specialist and a dermatologist (???) but it doesn't quote them--most of the sob story stuff comes from her and an array of lawyers. The whole thing reeks of self-aggrandizement and invented drama including--sheesh--a Great Dane service dog? Who trains a service dog that has a life expectancy of about six years?

There is so much video footage of the blasts that I'm certain there is visual proof of her location and her actions that day. The truth will out and from here, it looks pretty bad for Ms. Leigh.

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Not all working dogs are guide dogs. Balance support dog and mobility dogs help with stability & balance while walking. They also help people get up after a fall. Because of that, they have to be BIG dogs.

See http://www.servicedogproject.org/index.php/why-great-danes

The balance support dog should be at least 45% of the person’s height and 65% of the person’s weight. A 6 foot tall man needs a 30” dog. This puts stability at the person’s fingertips. By importing bloodlines, our dogs are not the tall show dogs but the sturdy working Dane.

Great Danes are well suited to home and office life. The fact that Danes require less exercise than many breeds is a good fit for some people with disabilities. Danes are content to have a few walks every day and then nap in the corner until their services are needed. Their perfect public persona makes them very conducive to help with the isolation and depression which often accompanies disabilities. Their short coat is a blessing in the home or office, but they do require a jacket if they are going to out for more than a few minutes in freezing weather. We take any of our retired Danes back here at the farm.

If you look at http://www.iaadp.org/breed.html, they also suggest Samoyeds and Newfoundlands. Large breeds that do not live long as well...

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Until the court records WCVB cites are made public, there's really no way to evaluate what's going on here.

The details of why the authorities are sure she's faking are missing. I kept waiting for something like, "We have video of her in Utah that day...." but there was nothing. I trust they have some damning evidence, but until that is presented this case remains unclear.

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if she was as close to the second bomb going off as she said "running to give aid" to the first bomb site now that we have seen all of the other video, I think she would have been seen on security video somewhere....

From the BPD:

BOSTON, March 27, 2015—A Jamaica Plain woman who claimed to be a Boston Marathon bombing victim is expected in court next week after she was indicted for receiving almost $40,000 in benefits that police and prosecutors say were fraudulently obtained, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley and Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans said.
The Suffolk County Grand Jury on March 10 returned indictments charging JOANNA LEIGH (D.O.B. 2/1/74) with five counts of larceny over $250 by false pretense and one count of making a false claim to a government agency. She will be arraigned on those charges Monday in Suffolk Superior Court.
“I saw first-hand the injuries true victims suffered on that day,” said Commissioner Evans. “Ms. Leigh saw an opportunity to take advantage of kind-hearted individuals who wanted to help those victims. I am grateful to the Boston Police Special Investigations Unit and the DA's Special Prosecutions Unit for their exceptional work in this complex investigation.”
“At a time when most people were asking how they could help, others were wondering how they could benefit,” DA Conley said. “Every dollar at issue in this case was taken from someone who truly deserved it.”
The investigation by Boston Police detectives and Suffolk fraud prosecutors revealed that Leigh was indeed at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, but was not injured by the bombing. She did not claim any injury or seek any medical treatment until about two weeks later. When she did begin to make those claims, she billed herself as a “hero” who ran toward the second blast.
Leigh received an $8,000 payment from the One Fund, which was intended to provide financial benefits to those injured in the bombings. Investigators say she sought a payment of more than $2 million but refused to release her medical records for authentication of her claims. Further, children and faculty at a Mattapan middle school raised more than $1,700 for Leigh that was presented to her personally in a ceremony at the school. Leigh is also the beneficiary of more than $9,000 in contributions to an online fundraiser. That web site refers to Leigh in the third person but evidence suggests it was created, maintained, and updated using her email address.
Evidence also suggests that Leigh received free dermatology services through a practice that offered treatment at no cost to bombing victims, but where other victims had generally been treated for scarring to their lower bodies, she sought and received free treatment for facial redness – a condition for which she’d been treated prior to the bombings. Finally, Leigh also received more than $18,000 in benefits from the state’s Victims of Violent Crime Compensation fund.
The indictments are based on a painstaking examination of financial and medical records, as well as a review of video surveillance, witness testimony, medical opinions, Leigh’s statements to investigators in the days following the bombing, and the different and contradictory stories she began to tell to local and national news media weeks later.
The investigation was led by Det. Steve Blair of the Boston Police Special Investigations Unit and Assistant District Attorney Greer Spatz of the DA’s Special Prosecutions Unit.

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if you don't think her comments in the Washington Post article stink, your BS detector is on the fritz.

I don't imagine that state prosecutors and police seek to take benefits away from a victim (which would greatly anger an extremely sympathetic public) unless they have pretty damning evidence that this woman has deliberately duped the system.

Generously, her story sounds like an extreme fabrication.

Maybe have been 10 feet from the blast, thrown against a barricade, concussed, and trampled, and you then are helping old men into ambulances and people are bringing people to you to be helped?

Very curious to hear the details at the arraignment, and if she defrauded the public and the true victims, well, she deserves whatever public shaming and punishment this would bring her.

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(Same anon as a post about 10min ago.) Here's a Globe story with a little more development of the actual claims.

Investigators who reviewed video surveillance, witness testimony, and medical and financial records found that Leigh was at the Marathon on April 15, 2013, but that she was not injured, according to Wark.

and

Leigh was among the most vocal of a group of people who said they had not been fairly compensated because of the method for calculating One Fund payments: Those who did not have overnight hospital stays received $8,000, while those with one or more nights in a hospital were eligible for $125,000 or more.

On Thursday night, she said the indictment was retribution for her criticism.

“I don’t think this is about me; I think this is because I spoke out about The One Fund,” she said. “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.”

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an expert in "anti-corruption solutions"! https://www.linkedin.com/in/joannaleigh

Good to know.

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You think lip injections and Botox are cheap? Why, I personally can't wait for her book when she gets out of prison, A Survivor's Story of Survival!

This line killed me:"

"“I can’t deal with this,” she said. “They know I have permanent hearing aids. Why else did I get them? Like I like hanging out with them? Like I love to spend every day in doctor’s offices? Like this is how I want to spend my life?”

Like, like! Like, lady, anybody ever tell you let your lawyer do the talking to the press?

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who's like "wait...she lives in JP??" That look is, uh...not usually how we roll here.

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She is exactly what I usually envision a stereotypical JP 41 year old female to look like.

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I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or whether you've just never been to Jamaica Plain.

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Oh I've been to JP. And although I was being sarcastic since negative stereotypes are mean and untrue for the most part, this woman fits your typical JP negative stereotype.

Not born in the city, single, half hipster/half yuppie, youthful, phony, divorced/mid life crisis, got into fitness at age 30, successful/financially independent but still with family support/enablement, etc.

I mean, she sure as hell doesn't fit the profile of any other part of boston does she? Certainly not Roslindale or Roxbury. Hell, even Brookline or the South End would come in behind JP if I had to slap a negative stereotype on her.

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Moving on....

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That's a very odd list of characteristics--how would you extrapolate these things from the story or, frankly, the way someone looks? Fitness at age thirty, family support, marital status...and sorry--half hipster? How does this woman convey "hipster" to you? I'm talking about the visuals here--the extensive plastic surgery and the fake-blond, aging glamour girl thing and yeah--we just don't have a lot of that around here. I know--not everybody in JP drives a Subaru covered in bumper stickers and considers Keens formalwear but this woman would blend in better in Chestnut Hill than she would at Cityfeed.

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Just her manner and tone from those videos (and my own unfair bias based on the allegations) But I stand by my assessment. Your Chestnut Hill stereotype isn't going to be single, or have bad plastic surgery. Chestnut Hill gals are cougars/soccer moms with families and successful lip botox. They would never dare attempt to raise money for a cause like either, that's way too hipster for the CH type. This girl comes across as a phoney wannabee half hipster/half yuppie type. I do agree with you that there aren't many fake blonds in JP, but everything else adds up as your JP sterotype in my book. (I got a ton of upvotes too so it makes me feel like I'm not alone in my thinking.)

Ok, Ive been mean enough in one day, I'm a horrible person, sorry.

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All I will say is that I don't think I have ever heard the phrase "bad plastic surgery" and "Jamaica Plain" in the same sentence. And I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on what defines "hipster." I haven't watched any video though. I just can't stomach it--this just makes me so angry.

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Has the native tongue down!

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How do they roll in JP? All kinds of people live there, especially a lot of kooky, nutty people. Don't get me wrong, I love JP. If you don't know her backstory, she doesn't seem like she would stick out at all walking around the pond, riding a bike along the Southwest Corridor, drinking at the Galway on a Friday night, shopping for groceries at Whole Foods, paying overdue fines at the library etc. Personally I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt until she has her day in court. Traumatic brain injury is no joke and manifests itself in all kinds of ways. If she is trying to scam the One Fund, then she is a total scumbag for sure and deserves to go to jail. If not, she will quickly be forgotten and all of the do gooders and busy bodies of the internet will move on to the next online shaming.

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She looks like Joan Rivers minus all the surgery and makup

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Stereotypes!

$20 says you wouldn't guess I'm a JP resident.

smh

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Then no--I probably wouldn't. So shoot me.

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If true, this is beyond disgraceful.

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You don't need to be within 10 feet of a bomb going off in order to sustain damage to your hearing. How is the state so sure that her ear injuries are not from the bombing?

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the Tsarnaev jury was shown the autopsy photos of the victims yesterday makes this even more revolting.

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Because one of my son's childcare persons (preschool) in a million pieces means that this woman is lying?

Head injuries and deafness can take some time to manifest. Give her her day in court.

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Seriously?

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She is getting her day in the court of public opinion. Something she openly sought, unlike a bunch of one legged Bostonians or the families of the four deceased.

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Just about your implication that pictures of the dead have shit all to do with whether or not a person who was in the area was injured.

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exploitation of a horrible event and sadly the autopsy photos remind us of the true victims. There appears to be a whole lot of smoke with this probable fire.

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for me from the Globe story is that

she allegedly refused to release medical records to prove her claims.

Huh?

I guess we'll know more on Monday.

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Did she go to Whole Foods to buy a gallon of milk the day her payment from the One Fund arrived?

Guess we'll have to wait until the trial, when every reporter in town will be sending pointless tweets from the courtroom.

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In this scenario, they should create a law when you could never live in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ever again. We do not need so called human beings like this.

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We don't even know what the government's case against her is yet, and everyone here is already judging her by her age, her hair color, her style of dress, her neighborhood, etc. What happened to "innocent until proved guilty" ?

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this woman comes off to me as an utter sociopath. Her actions now are not the rational actions of an innocent person. From the yelling and screaming about how this is retribution for criticizing the One Fund to her being treated by a dermatologist for what turns out to have been a pre-existing condition and not a residual condition from her "ordeal". Now the lip injections and Botox? A 30K bathroom?

Trust me, I know grifters and this one is a classic case of someone who thought they were smart and then completely fell apart when the heat was on. I would be willing to bet a hundred bucks she's found guilty when it's all said and done.

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so we can see some glimpse of the prosecution's evidence first.

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http://www.wcvb.com/news/5-investigates-finds-more-questions-about-alleg...

"She markets herself as an international consultant with many high-level degrees, including a PhD in philosophy from Fielding Graduate University.

But a spokesperson for Fielding told 5 Investigates that Joanna Leigh never even went to school there. It's the same story at St. John's University, where she claims to have received a bachelor's degree in psychology."

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