VETERAN PLEADS GUILTY TO $174,000 MAIL FRAUD IN CONNECTION WITH FRAUDULENT CLAIM OF PTSD
False Claims of Traumatic Experiences Alleged
LARRY LEWIS PORTER, 51, of Seattle, Washington pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle today to Mail Fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud the United States Department of Veterans Affairs by obtaining VA disability benefits to which he was not entitled. PORTER will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge James L. Robart on March 12, 2007 at 9 a.m..
According to the indictment and plea agreement in the case, PORTER submitted information to the Veterans Administration in 1999 claiming he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) attributable to experiences he allegedly suffered while in the Navy for a brief period during 1974 to1975. PORTER served in the Navy for fifteen months, from September 1974 to December 1975. PORTER claimed that during basic training he was thrown into water 18 feet deep despite the fact that he could not swim. PORTER claimed that he nearly drowned and was resuscitated. Additionally, PORTER claimed that while on duty he witnessed a civilian worker fall from the side of a ship in the Alameda Shipyard in Alameda, California, and drown. Independent records failed to substantiate this death. Finally, PORTER claimed that he suffered PTSD as a result of his having witnessed the death of a fellow serviceman in New York.
During his guilty plea before the Honorable John L. Weinberg, United States Magistrate Judge in Seattle, Washington, PORTER acknowledged that these events did not happen as he had claimed, and that such false statements were deliberately made by him in order to qualify for Veterans disability benefits to which he knew he was not entitled.
In reliance upon these fraudulent representations, made to VA administrators and health care professionals repeatedly over time by PORTER, the VA paid PORTER approximately $134,000 in Veterans disability benefits between 1999 and the present. Additionally, the Social Security Administration, in reliance upon this same false information, paid him $40,000 to which he was not entitled. As part of the plea agreement PORTER agreed to make full restitution to the VA.
Mail fraud is punishable by up to twenty (20) years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and period of supervised release to follow imprisonment of up to 3 years.
The case was investigated by the Veterans Administration Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ronald Friedman.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.