PHOENIX (AP) -- A northern Arizona woman who lied about having leukemia to support her drug habit has been sentenced to five years in prison.
The Arizona Attorney General's Office says Natasha Lee Leatherman defrauded the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System program out of tens of thousands of dollars in benefits between January 2011 and March 2013.
Leatherman was indicted by the Yavapai County grand jury and pleaded guilty last month to fraudulent schemes and artifices and obtaining a narcotic drug by fraud.
She was sentenced to five years in prison on fraudulent schemes and artifices, 3 1/2 years for obtaining narcotic drug by fraud and 1 1/2 years for false reporting to a law enforcement agency in a companion case prosecuted by Yavapai County.
All of the sentences will run concurrently.
One year ago, Leatherman was the focus of media attention for her struggle with a recent diagnosis of leukemia.
A joint investigation by the Prescott Police Department, Attorney General’s Office and the federal Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, determined that she did not have the illness that she claimed.
Leatherman would later go on the record to a Prescott Police Detective saying, "I lied about being sick. I lied about everything because I was just, it was the pills."
Leatherman, in a Prescott Daily Courier article dated November 12, 2012, described the community support that she received. While claiming to have Leukemia, Leatherman took advantage of many in the community who generously offered to help during a difficult time by freely giving financial and emotional support.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne stated, "We are giving a high priority to prosecuting those who defraud the AHCCCS program. Tax payers need to be protected from this kind of fraud."
Leatherman was indicted by the Yavapai County Grand Jury on October 2, 2013. She was charged with forgery, obtaining a dangerous drug by fraud, obtaining a narcotic drug by fraud, and four counts of fraudulent schemes and artifices.
On November 8, 2013, in Yavapai County Superior Court, Leatherman pled guilty to fraudulent schemes and artifices and obtaining a narcotic drug by fraud.
Leatherman had falsely accused an individual of sexually assaulting her. This was not the first time that Leatherman had made such a claim. In October 2011, she was convicted of harassment and two counts of false reporting to law enforcement.
Leatherman will serve her sentences in the Arizona Department of Corrections for obtaining a narcotic drug by fraud and for defrauding AHCCCS, medical facilities, and members of the community.
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