Video helps convict man of veterans benefits fraud
SAN ANTONIO —
A San Antonio man was sentenced to federal prison Thursday for allegedly faking an injury to get more than $400,000 worth of veterans benefits.
He told doctors he couldn’t walk, but surveillance video released Thursday captured 54-year old Mack Cole Junior walking, lifting, even mowing the lawn. Cole was granted military retirement with disability benefits after he said he hurt his lower back in a training accident, right before deploying to Kosovo in 2004 with the Kansas Army National Guard.
Special agents with the Department of Veterans Affairs shot video of Cole walking unassisted, lifting up his motorized scooter, and mowing his lawn. The video was used at trial and a federal jury determined Cole misrepresented the severity of his military related injuries to get higher disability payments, extensive medical equipment and to make modifications to his house.
Cole received a sentence of 27 months in prison for health care fraud and making false statements. He was also ordered to pay back $434,000 worth of benefits. Cole will have three years of supervised release after finishing his prison term.