Jacksonville man stole twin brother’s identity to get veteran’s benefits, DOJ says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville man has pleaded guilty to stealing his twin’s identity so he could obtain veterans’ benefits.

According to a federal warrant, Wayne Bowen, 64, of Jacksonville, fraudulently used the name, Social Security card and military discharge papers of his estranged twin brother in 2014 to apply for federally subsidized housing benefits.

Bowen ultimately received $32,434 in medical services from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), $18,905 in housing subsidies from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and $12,434 in nutritional benefits from the Department of Agriculture.

During an interview with federal agents, Bowen admitted that he had been using his twin’s identity for years, saying he had even been arrested and convicted of felony offenses under his twin’s name. The warrant states Bowen told investigators he had served and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army.

Unlike his twin, Bowen is not a military veteran.

Bowen faces a mandatory penalty of two years in federal prison. As part of his plea agreement, he agreed to reimburse $63,773 to the agencies for the government benefits he received.

“The defendant pleaded guilty today for his abhorrent conduct in defrauding multiple federal and state benefit programs by assuming the identity of his twin brother who had justly earned these benefits,” said Special Agent in Charge David Spilker of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s Southeast Field Office. “The VA OIG will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure the integrity of VA’s benefit programs.”

Samantha Mathers

Samantha Mathers, Action News Jax

Samantha Mathers is a digital reporter and content creator for Action News Jax.

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