Veteran Sentenced for Using Stolen Identities to Gain Benefits

Steven Jay Perrino was sentenced to 61 months in prison last month for using multiple stolen identities to serve in the military and claim veterans benefits, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The judge also ordered him to repay more than $122,000 to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Perrino assumed five different identities dating back to 1986 and used them to serve in the Navy three times and the Army twice up until 2007, according to court documents. Based on his military service under these stolen identities, Perrino was able to obtain educational grants, student loans and other veterans financial benefits from 2008 to 2013 — totaling more than $138,000.

The first time Perrino served in the Navy was in 1972 under his own name, leaving with honorable discharge in 1975.  After that, he would go back and forth between Army and Navy service using stolen identities. He used two of those identities to claim benefits from numerous government programs.

However, not all of his fraudulent military service left him eligible for benefits.

Perrino left his 1990 Army service with "other than honorable discharge." And his last stint in the Navy ended in 1991 with a court martial that referenced at least three different fraudulent enlistments. Despite that, Perrino was able to serve in the Army from 1997 to 2007 under yet another stolen identity.

False passport applications alerted authorities to Perrino's activities in September 2013, and in November Perrino pleaded guilty to theft of government money and aggravated identity theft.

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