Jacksonville man accused of stealing twin’s identity to obtain veterans benefits pleads guilty

Wayne Bowen faces mandatory penalty of 2 years in prison

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville man faces a mandatory penalty of two years in prison after he pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, according to a news release Thursday from the Department of Justice.

According to his plea agreement, the DOJ writes, Wayne Bowen in 2014 used the name, Social Security card and military discharge papers of his estranged twin brother to apply for federally subsidized housing. The subsidy was funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Notably, the DOJ mentions, Bowen is not a military veteran. His twin brother is.

During an interview with federal agents, the news release states, Bowen admitted to using his twin brother’s identity for years. Investigators determined he’d obtained a Florida ID card using his brother’s identity and had been arrested and convicted of felony offenses under his twin’s name.

Bowen, the DOJ writes, initially told the agents that he too had served in and been honorably discharged from the U.S. Army. Authorities said he later admitted that was untrue.

The state wrote that as part of his plea agreement, Bowen has agreed to reimburse various federal agencies a total of $63,773 for the government benefits he received.

The DOJ said that the VA provided him with $32,434 in medical services, that HUD provided him with $18,905 in housing subsidies, and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture funded $12,434 in nutritional benefits for him.

Bowen’s twin, the DOJ said, told investigators that he did not apply for any of these benefits and that he never gave Bowen permission to use his name.

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