Sentenced to serve 30 months in prison after living under false identity for 34 years

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Picture: Craig Chew-Moulding

James Thompson of Denver was sentenced late last week to serve 30 months in federal prison for misuse of a Social Security number, U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn and Social Security Office of the Inspector General Wilbert Craig announced.

The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer. After serving his 30 months, Thompson will then spend 3 years on supervised release. He also was ordered to pay $930.20 in restitution to the Social Security Administration. He is free on bond and will report to a Bureau of Prisons facility once it is designated.

According to court documents and facts presented at sentencing, James Thompson was a drug dealer in Oklahoma City in the 1980s and allowed one of his customers to purchase drugs in exchange for that customer’s identification documents.

Shortly thereafter, Thompson moved to Colorado and, by 1984, had begun living under his former customer’s name. Thompson was convicted of several felonies under his false identity, including second-degree murder and numerous serious drug felonies. In 2015, while on supervised release for a federal drug conviction, Thompson applied for Social Security benefits under his former customer’s name and was approved.

The former customer himself tried to apply for benefits in Oklahoma but was told he could not because someone was already receiving disability benefits in his name in Colorado. The customer was then forced to spend more than two years proving his true identity—during which time he was homeless and suffered substantial financial hardship.

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