Napoleon Gonzalez hadn’t done anything wrong by using his dead brother’s identity for the last fifty years. According to Gonzalez, the Air Force told him he was legally allowed to use both identities. Nothing is mentioned in Gonzalez’s military records to back up this claim. Because the Air Force wouldn’t say something like that. No one has the legal right to use anyone’s identity, dead or alive, for personal benefit. Which is what the court reiterated when Gonzalez, who is eighty-six years old, was found guilty on August 22, 2023, for Social Security Fraud with a stolen identity.
Napoleon Gonzalez’s brother, Guillermo Gonzelez, died in 1939 as a toddler. Twenty years later, in the 1960’s, Napoleon began living a double life when he obtained a passport bearing his deceased brother’s name, which he used as recently as July of 2018 to travel to Canada. In 1981, Napoleon applied for a Social Security number in Guillermo’s name and obtained Maine state identification cards under both his own identity and his brother’s. All this stratagem and maneuverings, brought Napoleon to his ultimate end goal. A Social Security pay day. Napoleon filed applications for Social Security retirement benefits in his own name in 1999 and in his brother’s name in 2001.
Gonzalez collected retirement benefits under both identities for over twenty years. In March 2020, investigators finally requested the suspension of benefits being paid to Guillermo Gonzalez pending investigation. Gonzalez mailed a letter to the Social Security Administration, signing the name Guillermo Gonzalez and the Social Security number assigned to that identity, asking for an explanation for the suspension. In the letter, he requested a prompt reply, claiming that due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, he was locked in his apartment, unable to drive and dependent on neighbors to obtain food and other items.
Great job by the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service with this investigation.
Today’s Fraud of the Day is based on article “86-year-old Maine man found guilty of using dead brother’s identity for over 50 years” published by WGME News on August 22, 2023
An 86-year-old Maine man faces up to 20 years in prison after being found guilty of using the identity of his dead infant brother to obtain passports and collect Social Security benefits for decades.
According to the Department of Justice, Napoleon Gonzalez of Etna was found guilty on Friday of one count of identity theft, two counts of passport fraud, two counts of Social Security fraud and one count of mail fraud following a two-day trial in Bangor. According to court records, beginning in the mid-1960s, Napoleon Gonzalez took on the identity of his brother, Guillermo Gonzalez, who had died as an infant in 1939.