A Buchanan County man has been sentenced to 20 years in a federal prison after admitting he spent two years pretending to be paralyzed from the neck down.
Timothy Carl Ling, 31, of Hurley and his parents have been ordered to pay more than $500,000 in restitution, according to a statement released today by acting U.S. Attorney Julia Dudley.
Prosecutors said Ling and his mother used his fake quadriplegia to persuade local social-service agencies to aid them financially, even as they cashed Social Security checks and defrauded credit-card companies of nearly $345,000.
They used the money on shopping sprees, vacations, casino gambling and the construction of two homes in Pikeville, Ky.
Ling also bought cars with a total worth of more than $100,000.
Ling's 20-year sentence was for a variety of crimes: He earlier had pleaded guilty to several fraud charges, as well as obstruction of justice, conspiracy to commit tax evasion, money laundering, and identity theft.
According to federal prosecutors, Ling began portraying himself as a quadriplegic in January 2004 to avoid being sent to prison for a probation violation. He had been convicted in Buchanan in 2000 of falsifying a medical prescription.
In U.S. District Court in Abingdon, prosecutors laid out a case showing that from 2004 to 2006, when federal investigators began their probe, Ling received Social Security benefits as a result of his feigned quadriplegia, and he also received Medicaid benefits to pay for numerous medical appointments and trips in ambulances.
A federal investigation revealed the family received money from the Virginia Consumer Services Fund and Clinch Independent Living Services Inc., two agencies that helped the family purchase a specially equipped van and build ramps at their home to accommodate Ling's fake disability. In all, the agencies spent more than $18,000.
Ling's mother, Carol Irene Estap, 54, of Hurley, was sentenced to seven years, 10 months in prison for her role in the schemes.
His father, Herman Scott Ling, 67, of Hurley, is serving a five-year probation sentence for his involvement.
Searching for pics of these nimrods.