US Army Vet Arrested For Faking Paraplegia To Get Benefits For Over Decade, Which He Spent On Sports Car

A US Army veteran has been arrested for faking being left paraplegic by a bomb blast in Iraq, earning himself over USD 1 million in disability benefits, which he splashed out on a sports car.

William Rich, aged 41, of the neighbourhood of Windsor Mill in the US state of Maryland was arrested on 13th October following a federal criminal complaint filed on the previous day.

The US Army veteran stands accused of earning over USD 1.04 million (GBP 753,995) in Veterans disability benefits and Social Security Administration disability benefits since 2007.

Army veteran William Rich who faked paralysis to get over $1M in benefits. (Justice Department/Newsflash)

The former soldier, who had served in the US Army since approximately September 1998, was injured in a bomb blast in the Iraqi city of Baqubah in on 23rd August, 2005.

His recovery was monitored annually and he was deemed able to carry out certain essential everyday activities with “complete” or “modified independence” in late 2006.

However, he faked his paralysis in 2007, convincing a doctor from the Department of Veterans Affairs that he had lost use of his legs, leading him to be rated “one hundred percent disabled”.

The physician who performed the checkup confirmed not performing X-ray scans at the time.

It was only in 2018 that the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General conducted a claims audit and learnt of conduct by the former soldier inconsistent with his professed condition.

Army veteran William Rich who faked paralysis to get over $1M in benefits. (Justice Department/Newsflash)

The office opened a fraud investigation and Rich was observed carrying out activities without the use of a wheelchair and without any visible limitations over the following years.

The office said the only times its special agents observed the former soldier using a wheelchair were when he had Veterans Affairs medical appointments.

He was even found to have shared videos of himself lifting weights at the gym to his publicly-accessible social media pages, and he captioned a 2016 gym-mirror selfie “Lol lift or leave”.

With the allowance he received, which was intended for “vehicle adaptation”, he purchased himself a BMW 645ci Coupe worth tens of thousands of US dollars.

If found guilty, Rich could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for the crime of wire fraud and up to 10 years in prison for the crime of theft of government property.

On the day of his arrest, he appeared before the District Court in the city of Baltimore, where he was provisionally released pending trial.

The Iraq War lasted from 2003 to 2011 and saw 4,431 United States Armed Forces members killed and 31,994 USAF members wounded in action.

According to London polling agency Opinion Research Business, the war claimed 1,033,000 lives including total excess deaths.

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