Northeast Philly woman faked cancer to avoid jail

Posted: March 08, 2012

A Philadelphia woman who faked having life-threatening cancer in order to delay reporting to prison in 2007 for stealing money from the bank accounts of elderly customers, was sentenced to almost five years in federal prison Thursday.

After LeAnn Moock, 35, of Parkwood Manor, received a four-month sentence in 2007 and was permitted to self-report to prison, she began an elaborate scam, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said in court papers that Moock fooled her own attorney and the presiding judge in the 2007 case into believing she was in constant pain, being treated with extensive chemotherapy, radiation and surgery and was expected to die soon.

Prosecutors said one day before Moock was to report to prison in August 2007, she sent her attorney an email claiming she had visited her doctor's office that day and doctors discovered a mass in her stomach.

As part of the scam, Moock concocted realistic-looking letterhead from Temple University Hospital to fabricate letters from a purported doctor, in addition to email and telephone accounts in case anyone from the criminal justice system tried to contact the fake doctor.

The missives from the fake doctor revealed Moock's efforts to assure that she was portrayed sympathetically, and often emphasized her supposedly low chances of survival.

In a January 14, 2008 letter, the fake doctor wrote:

"I've seen patients fight and win, but more times than not, when the cancer is this advanced and not responding to treatment, it is a losing battle."

Moock's scam enabled her to stay out of federal prison for more than three years.

During that time, she not only formed a new romantic relationship, but gave birth to another child, had breast augmentation and a tummy tuck and purloined her father's driver's license and personal information to obtain more than $56,000 in bank loans for herself.

Moock pleaded guilty to obstruction, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in November. She has been in federal custody since October.

Contact Michael Hinkelman at 215-854-2656 or hinkelm@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @MHinkelman.

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