Veterans benefits

Man gets 2 years for using twin’s ID for veterans benefits

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida man was sentenced to two years in federal prison on Tuesday for using the stolen identity of his twin brother to obtain tens of thousands of dollars in veterans benefits.

Wayne Bowen, 64, was convicted in federal court in Jacksonville, court records show. He pleaded guilty in January to aggravated identity theft. He must also pay $63,773 in restitution.

According to a plea agreement, Bowen used his estranged twin brother’s name, Social Security card and military discharge papers in 2014 to apply for federally subsidized housing benefits for indigent military veterans. The program was administered by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the US 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 ID card using his twin’s identity. He initially told officers that he and his twin had served and were honorably discharged from the US military, but later admitted these 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 did not apply for any of the benefits and never allowed Bowen to use his name.

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