SALT LAKE CITY — A man who worked for a Utah congressman through the Wounded Warrior Project pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he lied about being injured in the Iraq War to collect disability benefits.
Gilbert Prado, 49, of West Valley City, is charged in federal court with 15 counts of wire fraud and making false statements. Prado "falsely represented" to Veterans Affairs that he was injured during combat in Iraq in 2006, prosecutors allege. The indictment doesn't question that he served in the military.
Prado worked in constituent services for Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, in Provo. He got the job through the Wounded Warrior Project for the U.S. House of Representatives.
According to the indictment, Prado claimed during evaluations for VA benefits that an improvised explosive device detonated 40 feet from him and threw him into the side of a truck. He said he suffered a concussion and broken ribs, as well as blurry vision, headaches and short-term memory loss.
Prado also said he injured his elbows breaking down doors during house-to-house searches.
None of those stories are true, according to the indictment.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Evelyn J. Furse set a March 24 trial date.
— Dennis Romboy