KANSAS CITY, KAN. – A federal jury convicted a Kansas veteran of wire fraud and theft of government funds in charges related to a scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) out of disability benefits.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Bruce Hay, 53, of Greeley, a U.S. Army veteran and former Osawatomie resident, fraudulently misrepresented and exaggerated the extent of symptoms related to a purported conversion disorder diagnosis to receive VA disability benefits to which he was not entitled. Specifically, Hay claimed he had constant jerking movements, tremors, head-bobs, could walk only with the use of a walker, and could not engage in basic activities of daily living, such as bathing, toileting, dressing, and eating. During VA examinations, he faked and exaggerated physical symptoms—displaying a significant limp, muscle spasms, head bobs, and jerking movements. Immediately before and after these examinations, he used a walker that he didn’t normally use outside of VA facilities. The VA found that Hay was 100% disabled based on those fraudulent misrepresentations.
Information collected through surveillance, video footage, photographs, testimony from community members, and other evidence showed Hay’s claims of mobility limitations as false. He, without assistance, engaged in residential construction, threw hay bales on the back of moving trucks, hunted deer, drove regularly, and hauled more than a million pounds of scrap metal.
As a result of his misrepresentations, Hay fraudulently received more than $450,000 in VA benefits. A jury found Hay guilty of six counts of wire fraud and 10 counts of theft of government funds.
Sentencing is scheduled for October 27, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Julie A. Robinson. Hay faces a maximum of penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
The Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of the Inspector General and the Social Security Administration – Office of the Inspector General are investigating the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ryan J. Huschka and D. Christopher Oakley are prosecuting the case.