SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WETM) – An Owego man whose true identity remains unknown has been convicted of stealing social security benefits from a homeless Army veteran for over 20 years, according to a U.S. Attorney.
U.S. Attorney Carla Freedman of the Northern District of New York announced that the man, “John Doe”, who used to live in Owego, had been receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits from the Social Security Administration since 1999 using the name, birthday, and SS number of a homeless U.S. Army veteran in North Carolina. The announcement said that when he was questioned by authorities, Doe continued to claim the veteran’s identity was his own. He showed agents a copy of the veteran’s birth certificate and Social Security card, claiming they were his.
Doe, whose true identity remains unknown to federal officials, was convicted on two counts of Aggravated Identity Theft and one count of Misuse of a Social Security Number. He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 30, 2022 in Syracuse.
For the Misuse conviction, Doe faces a potential maximum of five years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, restitution to the SSA, and supervision of three years. For his Identity Theft convictions, he faces a mandatory two years in prison for each count, which could be concurrent or consecutive.
The announcement said that the jury was unable to reach a verdict on a Supplemental Security Income fraud charge, and a mistrial was declared for that charge.