A San Antonio veteran is facing up to 50 years in prison after a federal jury found him guilty of scheming to defraud the Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Compensation Program.
Mack Cole, Jr., 54, was convicted on four counts of health care fraud and two counts of making false statements after a jury determined he misrepresented the severity of a service-connected back injury.
The indictment alleges that Cole injured his back during training with the Kansas Army National Guard, prior to being deployed to Kosovo in 2004.
In 2006, Cole was granted military retirement and given a disabled veteran status with monthly benefits. Part of Cole's condition, he alleged, was his inability to walk due to the training incident. Cole reportedly told his VA physicians that he experienced 'dreams of walking again' and came to numerous appointments in a wheelchair.
As a result of his condition, Cole reportedly received inflated payments from the Veterans Affairs Disability Compensation Program.
Over the course of several months, special agents with the VA Office of Inspector General recorded Cole demonstrating that he had the ability to walk. Part of the surveillance captured by the agents involved Cole walking around his driveway and mowing his lawn.
Cole remains on bond pending sentencing and faces up to ten years imprisonment on each of the health care fraud convictions, and up to five years on each of the false statement convictions.