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Press Release

Man Who Lived Under False Identity For Thirty Four Years Sentenced To Thirty Months In Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado

DENVER – 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 was remanded at the conclusion of the sentencing hearing.

The defendant was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on July 7, 2018.  He pled guilty before Judge Brimmer on November 9, 2018.  He was sentenced on February 15, 2019. 

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. Shortly thereafter, 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.

This case was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration.  The defendant was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Burrows.


Jeff Dorschner
Spokesman, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado
303-454-0243 direct; 303-454-0400 fax

Updated February 19, 2019

Press Release Number: CASE NUMBER: 18-cr-00321