SYRACUSE, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – An Owego man, who federal prosecutors refer to as “John Doe”, was sentenced to 57 months in prison for stealing the identity of a homeless U.S. Army veteran.

According to authorities, Doe used the name, social security number, and date of birth of the veteran from approximately 1999 until June 2021. By doing so, Doe fraudulently obtained $249,811.93 in Supplemental Security Income benefits and an additional $588,645.85 in state benefits.

The man is referred to as “John Doe” because his real name cannot yet be confirmed, according to the release from the attorney’s office.

Doe’s use of the veteran’s identity was ultimately discovered by federal agents in 2021, but, Doe continued to falsely claim the identity as his own. Doe provided agents with a photocopy of the victim’s birth certificate and Social Security card, claiming that the documents were his.

Agents were able to locate the veteran and establish through fingerprint and DNA analysis that Doe is not the person he claims to be.

United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman stated: “We don’t yet know the defendant’s name, but we know what he did. Today’s sentence justly punishes him for stealing the identity of a homeless veteran to fraudulently obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in government benefits. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of local, state and federal investigators, we were able to bring John Doe to justice in spite of not knowing his true identity.” 

Doe has also been ordered to pay a total of $838,457.78 in restitution.