A Michigan man has been sentenced to five years in prison after he faked a disability in order to obtain over $250,000 in benefits from the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Joseph Scott Gray, 53, of Lawton, showed up in a wheelchair for an examination at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center in October 2017. He told employees that he had been confined to a wheelchair for the last ten years and had lost the ability to use his left hand. After the exam, Gray was seen at a local restaurant walking freely without the chair and was carrying leftovers in his left hand. 

Gray was convicted of four counts: engaging in a conspiracy to defraud the government, providing false statements to the VA, theft of government funds, and presenting a false, fictitious, or fraudulent claim for benefits. 

Gray also committed perjury by falsely testifying that his medication caused him lie to VA employees. 

“Misrepresenting symptoms to the VA to fraudulently obtain benefits takes resources from deserving veterans and will not be tolerated,” said Special Agent in Charge Gregory Billingsley with the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s Central Field Office. “The VA OIG will continue to vigorously investigate those who would steal from VA benefits programs and taxpayers.” 

This isn’t Gray’s first brush with law enforcement. He was sentenced to 27 months in prison in 2011 after a jury convicted him of engaging in the unlicensed sale of firearms.

Original Article