Veteran accused of faking paralysis

? An Army veteran from Illinois bilked the U.S. government by faking paralysis after a car wreck to get disability benefits and avoid being deployed to Iraq, federal grand jurors allege in indicting the former soldier and his wife.

The indictment accusing Jeffrey and Amy Rush of fraud and lying to federal agencies claims the couple stuck to his bogus story that he had lost the use of his legs after the November 2004 rollover crash, just weeks before his Army company from Kansas was shipped off to Iraq without him.

Rush, 26, went on to collect disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration, the indictment alleges without spelling out how much the couple collected altogether. The indictment offered no details on how Rush perpetuated the alleged scheme.

According to the indictment, Jeffrey Rush was assigned to the 24th Transportation Company at Kansas’ Fort Riley in June 2004 when that outfit was warned it would be deployed “in the near future” in support of troops in Iraq.

Five months later, Rush was involved in a one-car rollover accident with his own vehicle. Several times afterward, the indictment alleges, Rush told medical specialists he could not walk and had lost of bowel and bladder control, baffling doctors who could not pinpoint the source of Rush’s paralysis.

On Dec. 26, 2004, just weeks after the wreck, Rush’s Army company was deployed to Iraq while he stayed behind. Over the next several months, the indictment claims, Rush insisted in submitting for compensation and special housing that he couldn’t move from the waist down, eventually getting a medical discharge from the Army and drawing $2,700 in monthly VA benefits.

On Dec. 9, 2005, the Rushes filed a product-liability lawsuit in St. Clair County against the automaker and the manufacturer of its safety equipment, blaming both companies for Rush’s supposed paralysis and his wife’s resulting “loss of consortium and conjugal relations.”

Seven months later, the Rushes had a child.

The Rushes are scheduled for arraignment July 7.