An Army veteran admitted in federal court Friday to plotting with his wife to bilk the U.S. government by faking paralysis after a car wreck to get disability benefits and avoid being deployed to Iraq.
Jeffrey Rush, 27, also pleaded guilty to fraud charges tied to his product-liability lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. and a seat-belt maker over the 2004 rollover accident he claimed led to his becoming a paraplegic.
Federal prosecutors alleged Rush, now of Nashville, Tenn., and wife Amy Rush, 25, stood to get millions of dollars in their scam, much of it in the Ford lawsuit that eventually was dropped by their attorney when he figured out he was being duped by the couple.
As part of the scheme, court records show, Rush received $107,857 in benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and scammed $28,730 from the Social Security Administration. Court documents and discussions offered no details on how Rush perpetuated the scheme.
Rush, standing upright in court Friday, pleaded guilty to two fraud conspiracy counts and one count apiece of mail fraud and making false statements to the Social Security Administration. He faces up to 65 years in prison and $1 million in fines when sentenced Feb. 17. He remains free on bond.
Amy Rush pleaded guilty last month to similar charges and awaits sentencing Jan. 22.
Jeffrey Rush was assigned to the 24th Transportation Company at Kansas' Fort Riley in June 2004 when that outfit was told it would be deployed "in the near future" to Iraq.
Five months later, Rush was involved in a one-car rollover accident. Several times afterward, Rush told medical specialists he could not walk and had lost bowel and bladder control, baffling doctors who could not pinpoint the source of his paralysis.
Rush's Army company was deployed to Iraq about seven weeks after the wreck. Continued...