Diapers for Disability Benefits

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According to Wednesday by Custard, a British digital marketing company, seventy five percent of people on social media admit to lying about themselves online. Zachary Barton is one of the twenty five percent who are truthful on social media. However, in his real life, he is one big lie.

Barton’s truth was regularly shown by him on Facebook, starting in 2016, as a personal fitness trainer who was really proud of muscular physique. He regularly updated Facebook with his results in body building competitions and wrote blogs about his routines and products he used. He posted pictures of him flexing his muscles and videos of him working out and lifting weights up to 600 pounds.

But our fraudster was all lies to the Veterans Administration-Veterans Benefits Administration.  Starting in 2012, Barton went and filed for disability benefits claiming a wide range of symptoms due to post-traumatic stress, such as incontinence, trouble sleeping, and even erectile dysfunction. As evidence to his problems, he wore diapers and a used a cane to his visits at to the VA. He claimed he couldn’t lift 10 pounds and even dropped a book during an exam with a doctor to prove his point.

Social media was a boon for Barton’s ego but ruined his scheme to defraud the VA. Barton’s social media posts eventually found it’s way to federal court, where Barton admitted to not only faking his disabilities, but making up stories like having been in combat, to get a better disability rating.

Barton was sentenced to 12 months in prison and to repay $245,932 in restitution. We won’t be getting any work out tips for a while since federal prisoners are not allowed to update their social media accounts.

Today’s Fraud of the Day is based on an article, “A Florida bodybuilder lands prison time for his $245,000 disability fraud on the VA” by the Miami Herald on August 16, 2022

A U.S. Army veteran who falsely claimed PTSD and physical disabilities left him so weak that he couldn’t lift 10 pounds — but who remained a hardcore bodybuilder with the social media posts to prove it — will have to pump iron in federal prison for at least the next 10 months.

Zachary Barton, who moved from Port St. Lucie to Colorado Springs while scamming the Veterans Administration, will move to one of the three federal prisons in Colorado after being sentenced to 12 months and $245,932 restitution. In West Palm Beach federal court, Barton pleaded guilty in May to one count of theft of government property.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.