Man found guilty of defrauding VA

Released by Davilyn Watson with the U.S. Attorney's Office:

TEXARKANA, Texas - A 60-year-old Mount Pleasant, Texas man has been found guilty by a jury in a disability fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales.

Jim Bob Shipp was convicted on July 1, 2010, of six counts of health care fraud and one count of making a false statement following a three day trial before U.S. District Judge David Folsom.

According to information presented in court, from Oct. 25, 1974 to Dec. 1, 2009, Shipp devised and executed a scheme to defraud the Veterans' Affairs Disability Compensation Program by overstating the severity and extent of his disability.

As part of the scheme, Shipp represented to doctors that he had extreme loss of vision in both eyes.  As a result of these false claims, the Veterans' Affairs Disability Compensation Program awarded Shipp compensation at the 100% rate when he was only entitled to a lesser evaluation at the 30% rate.

As a result of the scheme, Shipp received payments totaling $804,522.57 from the program.

Shipp faces up to five years in federal prison.  A sentencing date has not been set.

This case was investigated by the Veterans' Affairs – OIG and ATF and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise O. Simpson and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel Kummerfeld.