$110K truck belonging to woman who embellished husband’s wartime injuries returned to federal authorities

Truck was supposed to be handed over as part of restitution in VA fraud case, was instead found being driven by man in Kentucky

A truck belonging to convicted felon Josephine Perez-Gorda is now in the custody of federal authorities and will be sold in the coming weeks. (Department of Justice, KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – A $110,000 truck found in Kentucky after federal authorities attempted to seize it as restitution in a fraud case this summer has been returned to San Antonio, court records filed by the Department of Justice confirm.

The Ford F-250 Super Duty crew pick-up truck was returned on Sept. 29 in very good condition with no visible damage, federal records state.

The Kentucky man accused of being in possession of the truck, Franklin Powell, had been ordered to appear alongside Josephine Perez-Gorda in federal court on Jan. 15 for a show cause hearing after authorities were unable to find the truck this summer.

Perez-Gorda, a Dripping Springs woman who embellished her husband’s wartime injuries to carry out a years-long fraud scheme against the government, had been ordered in late March not to transfer, dissipate, lease or sell any of her assets after the court determined she owed more than $501,000 in restitution.

Last fall, a jury found Perez-Gorda guilty of all 18 counts against her. The crimes ranged from wire fraud to making false statements related to health care matters and theft of government funds.

In July, federal authorities filed paperwork to move forward with seizing Perez-Gorda’s truck.

However, when the person appointed to seize the truck attempted to do so last month, it was no longer at Perez-Gorda’s home, court records show.

Perez-Gorda’s daughters repeatedly denied knowing where the truck was located.

Perez-Gorda’s counselor in prison later revealed to DOJ officials that the truck was with Powell in Elkton, Kentucky, north of Nashville, Tennessee.

DOJ officials made multiple attempts to call and text message Powell, but he did not respond, court records show.

The DOJ eventually contacted local law enforcement in Kentucky, which was able to track down the truck and gather evidence that Powell was in possession of it.

During Perez-Gorda’s sentencing, a federal judge had repeatedly taken issue with her actions while awaiting trial, including buying the $110,000 truck while the criminal case against her was ongoing and a court-appointed attorney represented her.

Perez-Gorda is currently being housed at a federal minimum security prison camp in Brazos County. Her anticipated release date is August 2026, Federal Bureau of Prisons records show.

It is not clear whether Perez-Gorda and Powell must still appear for the show cause hearing early next year.

The truck will be sold in the coming weeks, the DOJ filing shows.

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.