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Woman Pleads Guilty To Scamming One Fund

BOSTON (CBS) -- A Jamaica Plain woman pleaded guilty Friday on charges that she scammed the One Fund in the months after the Boston Marathon bombings.

Joanna Leigh, 41, pleaded guilty to five counts of larceny over $250 and one count of making a false claim to a government agency for accepting donations from the One Fund and a local school.

A judge sentenced Leigh to one year in the house of corrections, suspended for a three-year probationary term. The judge also ordered her to pay full restitution, perform 300 hours of community service, undergo a mental health evaluation and take part in any necessary treatment.

Leigh had been indicted in March on charges that she accepted nearly $40,000 in cash and benefits.

Prosecutors say she received about $18,000 from the Massachusetts Victims of Violent Crime Compensation program, nearly $9,400 from a GoFundMe account she created, $8,000 through the One Fund, nearly $1,900 from a fundraiser held by students and staff at the Mildred Avenue Middle School in Mattapan who believed she was a Marathon bombing victim.

Though Leigh was at the Boston Marathon in 2013 when bombs went off near the finish line, prosecutors said she was not injured.

Police said Leigh received about $900 in dermatology services that were offered at no cost to bombing victims. Most people taking advantage of the services were treated for scarring, but Leigh was treated for facial redness that she suffered from before the bombings.

She also falsely claimed to have suffered a brain injury in the blasts.

Following Friday's guilty plea, defense attorney Norman Zalkind said Leigh will immediately pay back the money she received using her mother's savings.

Zalkind added that Leigh likely would have been able to obtain the money legally because she was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after the bombings.

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