Imagine you’re very poor or horribly lazy (or both). Then spread a lot of time on your hands very liberally. What do you come up with? A Vet with a half-baked tale of PTSD. Meet Mr. Keith A. Roberts, a Veteran with entirely too much time on his hands and a typewriter. This gentleman concocted a story with just enough truth in it to give it wings (no pun intended). All would have been well and he would have lived happily ever after, but he had a serious character flaw-he was also greedy.
Mr. Roberts filed for a personality disorder that metamorphosed into a PTSD claim in 1993. By 1997 he had been pursuing this for 6 years. Finally, in 1998, his claim was approved as an acquaintance (whom he claimed as a best friend) had been killed by a collapsing aircraft-thus artificially validating his stressor. The RO awarded 50% effective the date of his claim in 93. He appealed and they gave him 100% with the same date of claim.
Mr. Roberts must have had some pressing financial needs because he came back again in 2002, hat in hand, asking for an earlier date for his PTSD prior to his claim in Dec. 1993. Believe it or not, the RO took the bait and they gave him July 1992 as an effective date. Most prudent Vets (honest or dishonest) might have walked away satisfied that they weren’t going to milk this cow any further. Not so, Mr. Roberts. He appealed this date and claimed several more mental problems secondary to the PTSD and an earlier effective date again and was denied.
Mr. Roberts decided to throw Napalm on the fire and contacted the VA Office of the Inspector General (VAOIG). He complained that the RO had mishandled his claim. After thoroughly examining the circumstances, the IG determined that something was not as it seemed. They decided to spend some money and find all the witnesses to this “stressor” that Mr. Roberts claimed. You have to wonder what was going through this bubblehead’s brain. More money. Yahoo! This is way too easy. Too bad I didn’t start this sucker up back in 1970. These guys at VA are way naive.
In 2004 the jig was up. The IG (at great expense) interviewed everyone associated with the accident and nobody had seen Mr. Roberts at the scene, let alone witness him direct the rescue operation. Apparently Mr. Roberts was telling a fib or simply “disremembered” the facts. To his credit, he didn’t claim he had been awarded the Medal of Honor.
Finally, in August, 2005, they had a Texas Necktie Party and strung him up. They took away his rating for PTSD and the house of cards collapsed. His claims for VA benefits for tobacco use, alcohol abuse, a digestive disorder, erectile dysfunction, an eye disorder, obesity, chronic fatigue syndrome, a personality disorder, a cardiovascular disorder, pulmonary disorder, and arthritis of the right knee which were secondary to the PTSD, evaporated with his lost rating. Well, come on. If he was lying about the PTSD, chances are he was lying about these other ailments, too. And besides, if the other claims were caused by PTSD and now he didn’t have it (and never did), then the other claims are dead. Mr. Roberts filed this appeal to the CAVC and felt he’d get a better shake from them. NOT. Read on and watch a master conniver at work. One has to shake his head over this. The guy had it made in the shade, but couldn’t leave well enough alone.
Incidentally, Mr. Roberts has several different theories on why he should be allowed to keep the shekels ($320,000.00). The Court disabuses Mr. Roberts of these notions. In addition, our grateful Nation now seeks return of those very same ill-gotten shekels.
So, kids, what can we learn from this show and tell? Steal from your friends or relatives. Never, ever steal from the government. And if you do, don’t keep coming back for more.
A sequel to this tale is in order. Mr. Roberts decided to pursue this up to the Federal Circuit Court, obviously not satisfied with what the Court had to say. He lost and is now a guest on an extended staycation at a Federal prison for a few years. When he gets out, he can start repaying Uncle Sam some of those samoles he absconded with. I’m sure they went after his assets and plucked him clean.
As a Post Script to this, I have added a new update that supercedes it. Please make sure you read it: