GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Lawton man has been sentenced for lying to the Department of Veterans Affairs to receive over $250,000 in benefits.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 53-year-old Joseph Scott Gray was sentenced to five years in federal prison for 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.
Court documents said that on Oct. 26, 2017, Gray went to the Battle Creek VA Medical Center for an exam and arrived in a wheelchair. Gray told the VA employees that he hadn’t walked in 10 years nor used his left hand. Shortly after, he went to a local restaurant where he was seen walking in and out of the building and carrying his leftovers in his left hand.
“Our nation has an obligation to care for our veterans and we must ensure they receive the medical care and disability benefits they need and deserve. Those who lie and fraudulently obtain VA benefits they are not entitled to receive not only steal from American taxpayers but from the veterans who served in defense of our country. My office will fight to protect VA benefits for those in genuine need of treatment and support,” U.S. Attorney Mark Totten said in a press release.
After the trial, the court found that Gray had committed perjury by “falsely testifying that his medication caused him (to) lie to VA employees and that his medication caused him to go from being unable to walk one minute to able to walk the next,” court documents said. The court also found that he had falsely testified that it was his brother, not him, in the videos from a local feed store that shows Gray walking and carrying a 40- to 50-pound bag of cat food.
Gray was previously sentenced to 27 months in prison for engaging in the unlicensed sale of firearms, court documents said.