Md. Army vet accused of pretending to be paraplegic to earn $ 1 million

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A Maryland Army veteran has been accused of faking he was a paraplegic in order to claim more than $ 1 million in veteran disability benefits.

A Maryland Army veteran has been accused of faking he was a paraplegic in order to claim more than $ 1 million in veteran disability benefits.

William Rich, 41, of Windsor Mill, reportedly claimed he was paralyzed and unable to walk on medical forms, according to the Ministry of Justice.

As a result, he got over $ 800,000 in Veterans Benefits and over $ 240,000 from Social Security.

The DOJ criminal complaint stated that Rich served in the military from approximately September 22, 1998 until February 27, 2007. He was injured on August 23, 2005 while serving in Baqubah, Iraq.

In 2007, according to the Justice Department, Rich was listed as 100% disabled “due to ‘loss of use in both lower limbs,’ but” about six weeks after Rich’s injuries he had started to make substantial progress towards recovery, and was no longer crippled.

Prosecutors cite Rich’s physical examination from 2005, where an MRI scan showed “no [spinal] bead conflict “or”[spinal] spinal cord abnormalities ”and noted that“… Rich’s paralysis has resolved somewhat and he is currently able to move his lower limbs ”.

A later report in 2006 indicated that Rich could carry out essential daily activities with “full independence” or “modified independence”, such as toilet use and “locomotion.”

Then in 2007, after an examination by a doctor who did not check Rich’s medical history, he was granted permanent VA disability.

In 2018, during an audit of the VA’s Office of the Inspector General, the agency began examining Rich’s fraud allegations.

“For the next two years, special agents from BIG VA (SA) monitored and observed Rich walking, climbing and descending stairs, entering and exiting vehicles, lifting, bending and carrying objects – all without visible limitation. nor medical assistance. device, including a wheelchair, ”the complaint said.

According to an affidavit, the only time Rich used a wheelchair was for VA appointments.

Beyond that, the DOJ said, there are photos of Rich standing without a wheelchair, including “an image Rich took of himself standing in front of a mirror in a gym, as well as videos of Rich lifting up. weights”.

Rich also “used the specially adapted vehicle funds to purchase a luxury BMW 645ci sports coupe,” the DOJ said.

If convicted, Rich faces 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud and a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for theft of government property.

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