Northeast Times

Woman gets prison time for faking cancer

Leann Moock gets five years after a scheme to avoid a pre­vi­ous sen­tence.

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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.  ••

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You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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