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Veteran Who Faked Paralysis Enters Plea Nov. 10, 2009

An Army veteran who feigned paralysis to dodge his deployment to Iraq has pleaded guilty to defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs and Social Security Administration.

Jeffrey Rush, 26, of East Alton, also pleaded guilty to a mail fraud scheme involving a personal injury lawsuit, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney A. Courtney Cox.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 17 in federal court in East St. Louis. Rush’s wife, Amy L. Rush, pleaded guilty last month to five federal charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and two counts of making false statements. She faces more than four years in prison. Jeffrey Rush, who lives now in Nashville, Tenn., served in the Army from Nov. 24, 2003 until July 20, 2005, stationed in Fort Riley, Kan., with the 24th Transportation Company. According to prosecutors, Jeffrey Rush was involved in a one-car accident in his own car while on duty in 2004. The car rolled over, and afterwards he told doctors that he was paralyzed from the waist down. He also claimed that he “was unable to walk and that he had the loss of bowel and bladder control,” according to the indictment. But doctors were unable to identify a physical explanation for his symptoms. On Dec. 26, 2004, Rush’s company was deployed to support Operation Iraqi Freedom and Rush stayed behind in a hospital. He received a medical discharge from the Army on July 20, 2005. The discharge was based on his claim that the paralysis was due to conversion disorder. But prosecutors claimed that the couple conspired to obtain government benefits to which they were not entitled, including disability benefit payments. The VA, they say, overpaid Jeffrey Rush by $107,857. Rush also collected $725 per month from the Social Security Administration and wound up being overpaid $28,730, according to the indictment. On Dec. 9, 2005, the Rushes filed a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the car that Rush was driving, and the car’s safety equipment manufacturer. They claimed that the car was defective, which caused it to roll during the accident. Amy Rush claims she suffered from loss of consortium and conjugal relations. As part of the lawsuit settlement, the couple received a van from the automobile manufacturer. The criminal case, which was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne M. Garrison, was scheduled to go to trial next month.

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