Veteran admits to faking need for wheelchair to claim over $660K in benefits

FILE - The US Department of Veterans Affairs building is seen in Washington, DC, on July 22, 2019.

A New Hampshire veteran admitted that he was faking his need for a wheelchair for two decades in order to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits. 

Christopher Stultz, 49, told the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that he could no longer use his feet beginning in January 2003, according to a Department of Justice news release. 

The VA increased Stultz’s monthly veteran benefits due to his condition and even awarded him funding through the VA’s Automobile Adaptive Equipment program. The program allowed Stultz to purchase special cars and other vehicles which were designed to help mobility-impaired veterans. 

Stultz also received a wheelchair and other ambulatory devices to help him move around. However, it was discovered he did not need any of these. 

Stultz was observed on multiple occasions moving freely without his wheelchair and walking normally, according to the DOJ.

Oct. 28, 2021 

Stultz was seen going inside a VA Medical Center in Jamaica Plain in Boston, Massachusetts. 

He used a wheelchair whilst inside the center, but after he left, he stood up, lifted the wheelchair into his car and drove to a shopping mall, the DOJ said. 

While at the shopping mall, Stultz was seen walking normally to multiple stores. 

Oct. 3, 2022

Stultz went to a VA Medical Center in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he was seen using a wheelchair while inside the facility. 

He then left the VA center and drove to the Mall of New Hampshire where he was again observed walking around normally and visiting multiple stores, according to the DOJ. 

Multiple witnesses also reported that they could not recall Stultz using a wheelchair as far back as the early 2000s. 

Between January 2033 through December 2022, Stultz received $662,871.77 in VA benefits, the department said. 

Stultz could face up to five years in prison and three years of supervised release. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.