The Charlotte Observer
A Florida man will spend time in federal prison after authorities say he stole his twin brother’s identity and pocketed more than $63,000 in veterans benefits in the process.
A judge ordered Wayne Bowen, 64, of Jacksonville to serve two years in prison after he pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft in January, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida announced Tuesday, April 26.
Prosecutors accused Bowen of swindling $63,773 in government benefits meant for veterans while posing as his twin, McClatchy News reported. During the years-long scheme, he used the name, Social Security card and military discharge papers of his estranged brother — an Army veteran — to apply for subsidized housing, federal prosecutors said.
The ruse netted Bowen $32,434 in medical services from Veterans Affairs, $18,905 in housing subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and $12,434 in nutritional benefits from the Department of Agriculture, according to prosecutors.
As part of his sentence, Bowen must pay back every penny.
He’s also accused of lying about his military service, initially telling investigators that he, like his brother, had served and been honorably discharged from the Army, prosecutors said.
Bowen’s twin told investigators that he never applied for any of federal benefits, nor had he given his brother permission to use his name.