Veterans benefits

Man pleads guilty to impersonating twin to get veterans benefits – The Observer

Jacksonville, Fla. – Wayne Bowen (64, Jacksonville) pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft. He faces a mandatory sentence of two years in federal prison. As part of his plea deal, Bowen agreed to reimburse various federal agencies a total of $63,773 for government benefits he received in connection with his identity theft scheme.

According to the plea agreement, in 2014 Bowen used his estranged twin brother’s name, Social Security card and military discharge papers to apply for federally subsidized housing benefits. The specific grant — intended for indigent military veterans — was funded through a joint program administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Unlike his twin, Bowen is not a military veteran.

When questioned by federal agents, Bowen admitted that he had been using his twin brother’s identity for years. He had obtained a Florida ID card using his twin’s identity and was arrested and convicted of criminal offenses under his twin’s name. Although Bowen initially told officers that he, like his twin, had served and was honorably discharged from the U.S. military, Bowen later relented and admitted these were lies.

Due to Bowen’s fraudulent use of his twin’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. Bowen’s twin confirmed that he did not request any of these benefits and that he never allowed Bowen to use his name.

‘Defendant pleaded guilty today to his heinous conduct in defrauding several federal and state benefit programs by impersonating his twin brother who rightfully earned these benefits,’ the Special Agent in Charge said. David Spilker of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector. General’s field office to the southeast. “The VA OIG will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure the integrity of VA benefit programs.”

This matter was investigated by the Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Agriculture. He is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Coolican.