Veteran Charged With Fraudulently Obtaining $1M By Allegedly Falsely Claiming To Be Paraplegic

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A U.S. Army seasoned from Windsor Mill was arrested Thursday for allegedly fraudulently obtaining much than $1 cardinal successful Veterans and Social Security Administration benefits by falsely claiming helium was a paraplegic, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

William Rich, 41, allegedly misrepresented his carnal information successful Veterans Administration disablement compensation claims, successful communications with the VA and during aesculapian examinations portion seeking VA disablement benefits by claiming helium is paralyzed and incapable to walk, according to a connection from the office.

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Rich received $800,000 successful VA benefits and much than $240,000 successful Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits, the connection alleges.

Rich served successful the U.S. Army from September 1998 to February 2007 and was injured connected Aug. 23, 2005, portion serving successful Baqubah, Iraq. The VA successful October 2005 determined Rich was wholly disabled and awarded peculiar monthly compensation for his paraplegia, arsenic good arsenic allowances for a caregiver and Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits payments.

But six weeks aft his injuries, Rich made important advancement toward betterment and nary longer was paralyzed, according to the statement. An MRI successful August 2005 revealed nary spinal cord impingement and that helium could determination his little extremities.

A doc conducting an exam successful October 2007 determined Rich was paralyzed, but said helium didn’t person entree to Rich’s implicit claims file, truthful helium couldn’t reappraisal the earlier report. Rich past received imperishable disablement from the VA.

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The VA’s Office of the Inspector General audited claims successful 2018 and learned Rich’s alleged behaviour was inconsistent with his purported condition, according to the statement. Special Agents for 2 years conducted surveillance and saw him walking, going up and down stairs, getting into and retired of vehicles, lifting, bending, and carrying items – each without disposable limitations oregon assistance of a aesculapian device, specified arsenic a wheelchair, the connection alleges.

The affidavit further alleges the lone clip the agents saw Rich usage a wheelchair was successful transportation with his aesculapian appointments, peculiarly 5 betwixt March 2019 and February 2021. The agents reported seeing Rich load the wheelchair into the trunk of his car earlier oregon aft a VA aesculapian appointment, utilizing the wheelchair astatine the appointments oregon wheeling himself to his car, past loading the wheelchair into the car.

Rich’s societal media accounts diagnostic photos of him lasting successful beforehand of a reflector astatine a gym and videos of him lifting weights, according to the statement.

The affidavit alleges helium utilized wealth earmarked for “automobile and adaptive equipment” and “specially adapted housing” to bargain a BMW 645ci coupe.

If Rich is convicted, helium faces a maximum condemnation of 20 years successful national situation for ligament fraud and a maximum of 10 years successful national situation for theft of authorities property.

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