Florida Man Busted For $250k Disability Fraud After Posting Weightlifting Photos Online

A Florida man was caught committing disability fraud after he posted weightlifting photos of himself at the gym online. Zachary Barton, a 36-year-old Army veteran, received $245,286 in disability funds after he “exaggerated his mental and physical impairments,” the US Department of Justice says. He now faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

  1. Barton’s disability claims were pretty serious. According to the Miami Herald, he told the Veterans Administration that he could barely lift his arm and needed a cane to get around. He also lied on a mental health test and claimed that he had combat-related PTSD. He was so dedicated to his fraud that he wore adult diapers and would take a cane with him to his appointments with the VA to make his story seem more believable. He told them that he could only go to the gym twice a week and even then, he could barely lift the minimal amount of weight.
  2. Turns out, he was full of crap. While claiming that he was struggling, Barton was also a self-described “gym rat” who loved posting all his weightlifting photos online. His need to brag was eventually what got him caught, after photos of himself and his wife posing at the gym online caught authorities’ attention. “Barton routinely performed strenuous weight-lifting—leg-pressing 650 pounds and chest pressing over 300 pounds,” the Department of Justice says.
  3. The photos weren’t all the evidence gathered. The TC Palm also outlines other evidence of fraud discovered during the investigation such as gym records showing how often Barton checked in. There were also eyewitness accounts of Barton moving furniture out of his house when he and his wife relocated to Colorado Springs.
  4. Barton pleaded guilty, at least. Knowing he was caught out, Barton finally pleaded guilty in West Palm Beach federal court to theft of government funds from a federal agency. He’s due to be sentenced in August.
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill