Fraud as a Diagnosis

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Closeup shot of an unrecognizable man sitting in a wheelchair

Conversion disorder is a mental health condition that manifests with physical symptoms. The symptoms, such as shaking, convulsions, even deafness, happen because the brain scrambles the effects of a mental health issue into disruptions of the nervous system. The symptoms are real but don’t match up with recognized brain-related conditions. According to information from Cleveland Clinic, “A person with conversion disorder can’t control the symptoms just by trying or thinking about it.”

Except if you are a fraudster, as in the case of Bruce Hay who was convicted on August 11, 2022, of defrauding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs out of $450,000 disability benefits. The only thing fraudsters can’t control is their need to fraud!

Hay, a U.S. Army veteran fraudulently misrepresented and exaggerated the extent of symptoms he had related to a purported conversion disorder diagnosis to receive VA disability benefits to which he was not entitled. 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. Hay made sure he checked off all the boxes on the symptom chart! During VA examinations, he faked and exaggerated physical symptoms—displaying a significant limp, muscle spasms, head bobs, and jerking movements. The Veteran Administration ruled that Hay was 100% disabled based on these fraudulent misrepresentations.

But cameras are everywhere and evidence from surveillance, video footage, and photographs showed Hay’s claims of mobility limitations were false. It turns out, Hay could not only drive symptom free, but he could also build houses, throw hay bales on the back of moving trucks, hunt deer and haul more than a million pounds of scrap metal.  Surveillance cameras at the VA office show him carrying his walker to the door only to break out in tremors at the door.

Hay’s tremors may be real on October 27, 2022, when the judge sets his sentence.

Great job by The Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of the Inspector General for putting a stop to Hay’s fraud.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Greeley man convicted of defrauding VA for disability benefits” published by KAKE News on August 11, 2022

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KWCH) – A federal jury on Thursday, Aug. 11, convicted a Kansas veteran for defrauding the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) out of disability benefits. A news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said the jury convicted 53-year-old Bruce Hay, of Greeley, of wire fraud and theft of government funds in charges related to the scheme.

Court documents and evidence presented at trial showed Hay “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.”

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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.