Texas woman convicted of defrauding VA, SSA of more than $500,000

SAN ANTONIO, TX (KWTX) – A Dripping Springs woman was sentenced March 23 in federal court in San Antonio to 46 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $501,709.54 in restitution for defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). .

Josephine Cassandra Perez-Gorda, 40, defrauded the VA and SSA by misrepresenting the severity and extent of her spouse’s disability from October 2011 to August 2017. Mr. Perez-Gorda, who is now deceased, was an Army veteran who was involved in the scam.

The couple claimed that Mr. Perez-Gorda was paralyzed from the waist down as a result of an injury he sustained in the line of duty. The trick involved applying for and receiving a specially equipped vehicle, a specially adapted home, and additional compensation based on the disability rating.

The investigation began after San Antonio news station KENS 5 aired an article titled “Homes Our Troops Ask Paralyzed Veterans After Video.”

The story involves a specially adapted home in Dripping Springs that was donated to Perez-Gordas in December 2013 by the nonprofit Homes for Our Troops foundation.

Although Mrs. Perez-Gorda claimed that her husband was “paralyzed from the abdomen down,” Mr. Perez-Gorda walked around the neighborhood and played basketball.

Agents from the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) filmed Mr. Perez-Gorda walking unaided. Ms. Perez-Gorda continued the plan by completing all the VA and SSA paperwork that Mr. Perez-Gorda was paralyzed in both legs.

Ms. Perez-Gorda pleaded guilty on September 22, 2022 to 11 counts of wire fraud; one count of mail fraud; one count of health care fraud; three counts of false statements related to health care; one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud; and one fact of stealing state funds.

In addition to jail time and restitution, Perez-Gorda is responsible for $100 in fines and $100,000 in court costs for each of the 18 counts.

“Fraudulently obtaining benefits from the VA siphons off valuable resources intended to care for deserving veterans,” said Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Investigations Carl Scott of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of the Inspector General for Investigations. “The VA OIG is grateful to the US Attorney and the Social Security Administration OIG for their efforts in this joint investigation.”

VA-OIG and SSA-OIG investigated the case.

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