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Woman Charged With Defrauding One Fund: 'This Is Like A Witch Hunt'

BOSTON (CBS) – A woman charged with defrauding the One Fund said she hasn't done anything wrong and claims she's the target of a "witch hunt."

Joanna Leigh, 41, of Jamaica Plain, was indicted earlier this month for receiving nearly $40,000 in benefits that she didn't deserve, according to Suffolk County prosecutors, including money from the One Fund and a local school.

The indictment was announced Thursday night.

Leigh told reporters outside her house Friday she's being unfairly targeted.

"This is like a witch hunt and I think it's cruel," she said. "This is like adding insult to injury."

Read: One Fund Statement On Arrest

Prosecutors say Leigh was at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, but was not hurt in the bombings.

Joanna Leigh
Joanna Leigh spoek to reporters March 27 outside her home. (WBZ-TV)

"She did not claim any injury or seek any medical treatment until about two weeks later," Suffolk D.A. spokesman Jake Wark said in a statement Thursday .

"When she did begin to make those claims, she billed herself as a "hero" who ran toward the second blast."

Leigh later received an $8,000 payment from the One Fund, after claiming she suffered a brain injury in the attacks.

Investigators say she wanted more than $2 million, but she refused to release her medical records to verify her claims.

"They're telling me that the One Fund asked for my medical records and I didn't provide it, but that's not true," she told reporters Friday. "I didn't ask for $2 million from the One Fund. That never happened. That did not happen."

"I asked for (an) independent review of my medical records from a neurologist because the One Fund claimed the brain injury didn't exist."

Wark said the indictments are based on a "painstaking examination" of records and 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."

She disputes the charges.

"I'm not reaping some big rewards here," Leigh said.

"The money they're saying, that the benefits I got, these are reimbursements for valid medical expenses that was already vetted by victim's compensation."

Leigh plans to plead not guilty at her arraignment Monday.

"People in this country are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but I think it was really cruel to do this just because I spoke out against the One Fund in the first place," she said.

"All I wanted was a separate review. I was not asking for anything other than that."

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