A Far Northeast woman whom the government said pretended to have cancer to avoid a four-month jail term for an embezzlement conviction is going to be in federal prison for almost five years.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia last week announced that Leann Moock played “on the human sympathies of virtually everyone connected to her case.”
She used an elaborate scheme in which she created a doctor, his letterhead and a phony e-mail address to “fool her own attorney, the pretrial services officer assigned to her case, and the presiding judge into believing she was in almost constant plain, was being treated for extensive chemotherapy, radiation and surgery and that she would likely die in the very near future despite the treatment,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Bea Witzleben said in a sentencing memorandum.
Moock had been convicted of stealing $31,000 from the accounts of elderly customers of the Philadelphia bank that employed her. In July 2007, she was sentenced to just four months in prison.
She was supposed to report to prison on Aug. 31, 2007, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, but she informed her attorney she had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. Her lawyer responded that he would do his best to keep her out of prison, but he needed updates from her doctor about her condition and treatment. She did that by using the letterhead of the non-existent doctor.
The ploy kept Moock out of jail for more than three years, Witzleben wrote in her sentencing memorandum. In that time, the prosecutor wrote, Moock started a romantic relationship, gave birth to a child, had surgical breast augmentation and had a tummy tuck.
She also used her 73-year-old retired father’s identification to arrange for $56,000 in bank loans. That extra measure of greed is what got Moock caught.
Despite using her boyfriend’s address for correspondence with the bank, Moock’s father found out about the loans, Witzleben said, and told the bank he had not co-signed for any loans.
The bank then told Moock she was being investigated for fraud, and the scheme unraveled until the woman was caught. She pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, bank fraud and identity theft, Witzleben stated in her memorandum.
On Thursday, Moock was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison. In addition, U.S. District Court Judge Stewart Dalzell ordered a fine of $5,000, five years of supervised release and $300 in special assessments, U.S. Attorney spokeswoman Patty Hartman stated in a news release. ••EndFragment