Texas woman guilty of fraud after 'paralyzed' Army vet spouse seen shooting hoops

GAVEL
A Texas woman has been found guilty of defrauding the VA and Social Security Administration of $300,000. Photo credit Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal jury on Sept. 27 convicted a Texas woman of defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration of over $300,000.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Josephine Casandra Perez-Gorda, 39, defrauded the VA and SSA by overstating the severity and extent of her Army veteran spouse. Justin Perez-Gorda’s disability from Oct. 2011 through Aug. 2017.

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Mr. Perez, now deceased, participated in the fraud, a Department of Justice release states. The Perezes claimed he was paralyzed from the waist down from an injury he suffered while on active duty. The ruse included applying for and receiving a specially equipped vehicle, a specially adapted home, and additional compensation based on his disability rating.

The investigation began after KENS5 ran a news story titled, “Homes for Our Troops Questions Veteran’s Paralysis after Video.” The news story involved a specially adapted house in Dripping Springs that was gifted to the Perezes by the non-profit foundation Homes for Our Troops in Dec. 2013.

Although Mrs. Perez claimed her husband was “paralyzed from the belly button down,” Mr. Perez was seen walking around the neighborhood and playing basketball. VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) agents videotaped Mr. Perez walking around without assistance.

Mrs. Perez furthered the scheme by completing all the VA and SSA paperwork claiming Mr. Perez was paralyzed in both legs.

Mrs. Perez was found guilty of 11 counts of wire fraud; one count of mail fraud; one count of healthcare fraud; three counts of false statements related to a healthcare matter; one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud; and one count of theft of government funds.

Sentencing is set for Dec. 20, 2022.  She faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the wire fraud and mail fraud charges; up to 10 years in prison on each of the health care fraud charges and the theft of government funds charge; and up to five years in prison on each of the false statements related to a health care matter.

Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images