Idaho Veteran Charged With Bilking $1.5M From VA
COEUR D’ALENE — A former Bonner County Sheriff’s deputy faces charges that he pretended to be paraplegic to get veteran’s benefits and bilked the government out of $1.5 Million.
Federal prosecutors in Idaho filed a 58 count indictment against James Sebero last week.
Sebero, a former marine deputy in Bonner County, claimed he was injured while in the Air Force in the early 1970s. The Air Force sent him to several medical facilities for treatment and each time the nature of the reported accident and the extent of the injuries suffered have been reported differently.
Documents say Sebero claimed he suffered from various ailments including paraplegia, the total loss of use of both legs. Sebero received veterans association disability and benefits for 31 years, with documents reporting that he received about $6,000 a month for the past few years for a grand total of $1.5 Million in disability pay.
However while Sebero was telling the VA he was a paraplegic prosecutors say he was not. Court documents show he owned and operated an excavation company and an aircraft maintenance facility and worked as a law enforcement officer for the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office.
The Bonner County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Sebero worked as a seasonal employee for four summers on their marine unit and he was not not paralyzed.
Now the government is charging him with fraud and wants their money back, calling for his bank accounts, two homes, a boat and a helicopter to be seized.
Sebero’s phone number has been disconnected and he could not be reached for comment on this story.