Feds move to freeze assets of woman who embellished husband’s wartime injuries in fraud scheme

Josephine Perez-Gorda, 40, owes $501,000 in restitution

Josephine Perez-Gorda (right) walks into federal court late last month. (Joshua Saunders, KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – Department of Justice officials have moved to freeze the assets of a Dripping Springs woman who embellished her Army husband’s wartime injuries as part of a lengthy fraud scheme, federal court records obtained by KSAT Investigates show.

Josephine Perez-Gorda, 40, was sentenced to 46 months in prison during a hearing in federal court in San Antonio late last month. She is scheduled to report to prison by June 5.

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An assistant US attorney late last month filed a motion asking the court to issue a restraining order to prevent Perez-Gorda from dissipating her assets.

The ex parte motion was unsealed earlier this week.

Perez-Gorda is scheduled to appear before Judge Fred Biery on the motion Monday morning.

For nearly six years, from 2011 to 2017, Perez-Gorda falsely told federal agencies that her husband, Army Specialist Justin Perez-Gorda, was paralyzed from the belly button down.

Justin Perez-Gorda suffered a traumatic brain injury while serving in Afghanistan in early 2011.

While the couple claimed in Veterans Affairs and Social Security paperwork that he had lost the use of his lower extremities, footage gathered by federal investigators showed Justin Perez-Gorda walking.

Justin Perez-Gorda died while in federal custody in Missouri while awaiting trial early last year.

A jury in September found Josephine Perez-Gorda guilty of all 18 counts against her, which ranged from wire fraud to making false statements related to health care matters and theft of government funds.

She owes the government $501,000 in restitution and has appealed her convictions.

“While claiming insolvency in requesting a court-appointed attorney, the Defendant had almost $100,000 in her checking account, three vehicles, a million-dollar home and expensive furnishings. A restraining order is needed to permit the United States to determine her financial status and enforce this Court’s judgment against any of her nonexempt assets before they are dissipated,” the March 31 motion reads.

It seeks to use the assets to pay restitution under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act.

Josephine Perez-Gorda revealed in court during her sentencing that her assets include a $110,000 truck purchased while the criminal case against her was pending.

The couple was gifted a custom-built specially adapted house in Dripping Springs in late 2013 from the charity Homes For Our Troops.

A 10-year lien was placed on the home, which was scheduled to be transferred to the couple free and clear this December.

Homes For Our Troops Executive Director Bill Ivey told KSAT after Josephine Perez-Gorda was convicted last fall, however, that it had suspended equity accrual on the property in July 2021 after learning that Justin Perez-Gorda was no longer living there.

Ivey said the charity will move to repossess the property after Josephine Perez-Gorda runs out of appeals in her case.

Josephine Perez-Gorda told the court last month she planned to have her daughters continue living in the home while she was in prison.

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About the Author

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

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