Attorney General Tom Horne Announces Conviction Of Woman Who Faked Leukemia

Phoenix, AZ (Monday, December 16, 2013) - Attorney General Tom Horne is today announcing the conviction of Natasha Lee Leatherman, for committing the criminal offenses of fraudulent schemes and artifices and obtaining a narcotic drug by fraud. Between January 2011 and March 2013, Leatherman defrauded the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) program of tens of thousands of dollars in benefits. Her drug addiction led her to health care facilities in Yavapai County, where she received treatment for a feigned illness. 

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 record to a Prescott Police Detective “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. 

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.

On December 11, 2013, she was sentenced to 5 years on a class 2 felony - Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices; 3 ½ years on a class 3 felony – Obtaining Narcotic Drug by Fraud; and 1 ½ years on a charge brought in a companion case prosecuted by Yavapai County, all to run concurrently. In that case, Leatherman was convicted of false reporting to a law enforcement agency and harassment. She 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.