An Army deserter from Morganton is accused of receiving tens of thousands of dollars in veteran benefits by faking war wounds and military honors.
Roy Lee Ross Jr., 64, faces up to 35 years in prison on charges of executing a scheme to defraud the Veterans Administration, making false statements in connection with the delivery of VA health care benefits, stealing from the VA and making a false claim for travel benefits from the VA.
According to a federal indictment released on Friday, Ross enlisted in the Army in 1973 and was stationed stateside and in West Germany.
But he never served in Vietnam or Korea, was not in the Special Forces and never was wounded as he claimed, according to the indictment.
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While stationed in Hawaii in 1978, he went AWOL, was caught and then discharged instead of undergoing a court-martial, prosecutors said.
By 2007, the indictment says, Ross began to falsely represent himself to the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville as a U.S. Army veteran named Daniel Alfred Sullivan Jr. He claimed to have served in the Special Forces, been wounded in combat and honorably discharged.
Ross claimed he suffered from nightmares caused by his wartime service and combat injuries, prosecutors said.
As a result, Ross was diagnosed in 2007 with service-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and began receiving health benefits from the VA.
In 2012, based on the PTSD diagnosis and his numerous false claims about war wounds and military honors, Ross filed for and received disability-based compensation at a rate of 60 percent and a retroactive lump sum of $18,349, according to the indictment. He also began receiving a monthly tax-free compensation of $1,026.
In 2014, he filed for more compensation, claiming he suffered pain from being shot in the neck during combat.
His disability rating was increased, reflecting an increase in his monthly tax-free compensation to $1,743.
In 2015, still falsely claiming to be Daniel Sullivan, he filed a third claim for “increased evaluation,” claiming he was suffering from neck pain due to wounds he received on active duty, according to the indictment. He was awarded $3,490 in back payment, and his monthly disability payment was increased to $2,906.
The indictment says Ross also received about $57,000 in health care benefits from the VA to which he was not lawfully entitled.
Ross also defrauded the VA’s Beneficiary Travel Program by filing for mileage reimbursement in connection with his medical appointments, according to the indictment. He defrauded the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program by receiving $10,218 in payments from the program, which offers training assistance to unemployed veterans.
Ross could not be reached for comment by the Observer.
“The actions of the defendant are contrary to the code of military conduct,” U.S. Attorney Jill Rose said in announcing the charges. “Now, the scheme has been exposed and Ross, a disgraced deserter, must answer for his actions in a federal court.”