Judge denies motion to extend surrender date for woman who embellished husband’s wartime injuries

Josephine Perez-Gorda must report to federal prison by Wednesday

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

SAN ANTONIO – A Dripping Springs woman who embellished her Army veteran husband’s wartime injuries to carry out a lengthy fraud scheme must report to federal prison by Wednesday, after a judge denied her motion to extend her surrender date.

Josephine Perez-Gorda, 40, was sentenced to 46 months in prison during a hearing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in late March.

A jury last September found 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.

Perez-Gorda asked the court to extend her June 5 surrender date up to 90 days so she could have more time to make sure her two daughters, ages 18 and 20, can successfully continue their lives without her assistance, federal court records show.

She also asked for the extension in order to properly respond to the government’s attempt to foreclose on her property, a custom-built specially adapted house in Dripping Springs gifted to her and her husband in late 2013.

Proceeds from the sale of the home could be used to help pay off the more than $501,000 in restitution owed by Perez-Gorda.

“She has been out on bond knowing that she would have to report to prison for over eight months – significantly longer than most defendants in her circumstances,” federal prosecutors told the court in the government’s motion opposing an extension.

Perez-Gorda’s two daughters are both adults and the interests of victims seeking restitution are better served by the government instead of Perez-Gorda, who used fraudulent statements to get the property in the first place, the government’s filing states.

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.

Judge Fred Biery in March repeatedly took issue with Josephine Perez-Gorda’s actions, including her buying a $110,000 truck while the criminal case against her was ongoing and while she was represented by a court-appointed attorney.

Biery pointed out at the time that the government had spent nearly $200,000 providing her an attorney and an investigator, even though her finances show she was clearly not indigent.

The judge also took issue with Josephine Perez-Gorda leaving her then-husband behind while she took a trip to Disney World, despite filling out caregiver paperwork claiming he needed around-the-clock care.

The judge noted that Josephine Perez-Gorda had not taken responsibility for her crimes and did not pay restitution prior to her sentencing date.

Josephine Perez-Gorda had not reported to federal prison as of Monday afternoon, Federal Bureau of Prisons records show.

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.