JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man has pleaded guilty to using his twin brother's stolen identity to obtain tens of thousands of dollars in military veterans benefits.
Wayne Bowen, 64, of Jacksonville, pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated identity theft in Jacksonville federal court, according to court records. He faces a mandatory two years in federal prison. He must also pay $63,773 in restitution as part of his plea agreement.
According to the plea agreement, Bowen used the name, Social Security card and military discharge papers of his estranged twin brother in 2014 to apply for federally subsidized housing benefits intended for indigent military veterans. The program was administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Bowen admitted to federal agents that he had been using his brother’s identity for years, prosecutors said. Bowen had obtained a Florida identification card using his twin’s identity and had been arrested and convicted of felony offenses under his twin’s name. Bowen initially told the agents that he and his twin had served in and been honorably discharged from the U.S. Army but later admitted those were lies.
Based on Bowen’s fraudulent use of his brother's identity, the VA provided him with $32,434 in medical services, HUD provided him with $18,905 in housing subsidies, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture funded $12,434 in nutritional benefits for him, officials said. Bowen’s twin, who lives in another state, confirmed that he didn't apply for any of the benefits and that he never gave Bowen permission to use his name.