San Antonio Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Scheme to Defraud the Veterans Affairs Disability Compensation Program
In San Antonio this morning, a federal judge sentenced 54-year-old Mack Cole, Jr., to 27 months in federal prison for scheming to defraud the Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Compensation Program announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr.
In addition to the prison term, Chief United States District Judge Orlando Garcia ordered that Cole pay $375,055.85 restitution to the Veteran’s Benefit Administration and $59,538.60 restitution to the Veterans Health Administration. Judge Garcia also ordered that Cole be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term.
On June 14, 2017, a federal jury convicted Cole on four counts of health care fraud and two counts of making false statements in a matter involving a health care benefit program.
Evidence presented during trial revealed that Cole, who was deployed with the Kansas Army National Guard to Kosovo in 2004, injured his lower back in a state-side training accident prior to the deployment.
In 2006, Cole was granted military retirement and was later deemed eligible for monthly benefits as a retired disabled veteran. The jury found that Cole misrepresented the severity of his service-connected injuries in order to collect a higher level of benefits, adaptations to his residence, and extensive durable medical equipment.
Special Agents of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (VA OIG) conducted video surveillance of Cole, who represented to his VA physicians that he was not able to walk. Over the course of several months, Special Agents of the VA OIG recorded video of Cole mowing his front lawn, walking around his driveway and lawn without assistance, and otherwise demonstrating that he had the ability to walk.
Special Agents with the VA OIG investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorney Bud Paulissen prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.