Queens Man Impersonates Dead Brother

New York State Acting Welfare Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott and Queens

District Attorney Richard A. Brown today announced the arrest of a Queens man who was

charged with defrauding federal, state and city government agencies of more than $581,000

in welfare benefits from 1994 to 2013. He allegedly did so by impersonating his twin brother,

who died in 1962 shortly after his birth.

“This is an outrageous theft of benefits, moneys that are intended for those truly in need,”

said Inspector General Scott. “The defendant is charged with stealing more than a half

million dollars in welfare benefits; utilizing an intricate plot to ensure a constant cash flow of

government benefits he was not entitled to, and by assuming a false identity for nearly two

decades. As a result of my investigation, together with our partners in law enforcement, this

fraud was uncovered and the defendant brought to justice.”

Thomas Murphy, 52, of Queens is charged in one complaint with two counts of second-
degree grand larceny, one count of second-degree welfare fraud, one count of first degree

identity theft, two counts of first-degree falsifying business records and two counts of first-
degree offering a false instrument for filing. In a second complaint he is charged with one

count each of first-and second-degree falsifying business records, first-degree offering a

false instrument for filing and one count of making a punishable false written statement. If

convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison on the first complaint and four years in prison on

the second complaint.

Queens District Attorney Brown said: “The defendant is accused of concocting a brazen

scheme in which he stole the identity of his twin brother – who died shortly after birth – to

illegally divert more than half a million dollars in welfare money to pay for his housing,

food, medical expenses for nearly 20 years – even during the last eight years when he was

employed as a New York City Sanitation worker..”

According to Inspector General Scott, Murphy allegedly committed this theft by using his

deceased twin brother Robert’s social security number. Murphy started using his brother’s

social security number in October 1994, when he applied for social service benefits in his

brother’s name. Murphy continued to impersonate his brother for more than 18 years, and

collected these benefits through to November 2013.

Compiled by Forum staff


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