A homeless Army veteran’s identity was stolen for 22 years by a mysterious man who has not been officially identified himself, federal prosecutors in New York say.
The unidentified man, referred to as “John Doe,” was convicted on charges including aggravated identity theft and misuse of a Social Security number on May 19, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York.
Doe, formerly from Owego, is accused of receiving the homeless veteran’s Supplemental Security Income benefits from the Social Security Administration since 1999 by using his name, birth date and Social Security number, a news release said.
McClatchy News contacted Doe’s attorney for comment on May 20.
The veteran, who lives in North Carolina, was not identified by prosecutors in the release or in court documents obtained by McClatchy News. Meanwhile, Doe was listed as having two possible names that are unconfirmed.
In June 2021, after federal agents ultimately learned Doe was masquerading as the veteran, he tried deceiving them by showing “a photocopy of the (veteran’s) birth certificate and Social Security card, purporting them to be his own,” according to the release and a superseding indictment.
The superseding indictment also charged Doe with Supplemental Security Income fraud but “a mistrial was declared” on that count because the jury was “undecided due to wording in law,” according to prosecutors and the verdict.
It was not specified how much money Doe ultimately obtained from the Social Security Administration since 1999 while pretending to be the veteran, according to the indictment.
Doe is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 30, prosecutors say. He faces up to five years in prison for the misuse of a Social Security number charge and up to two years in prison for the two counts of aggravated identity theft. Additionally, he’s been ordered to pay $250,000 to the Social Security Administration.
Owego is roughly 120 miles southeast of Rochester.
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