BANGOR, Maine — A Canadian man, who has lived in the U.S. under an assumed name since at least 1994, was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court to 3 ½ years in federal prison for using another man’s identity to obtain nearly $6,000 in food stamp benefits.
Robert Jerome Bond, 47, of Gardiner pleaded guilty in October to one count each of theft of public money and aggravated identity theft.
In addition to prison time, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock ordered Bond to pay $5,923 in restitution.
Once he has served his sentence, Bond will be deported, Woodcock said.
Bond apologized for his actions Tuesday but no one spoke to the judge on his behalf. Neither his wife nor children were in the courtroom.
By pleading guilty, Bond admitted that between Jan. 19, 2011, and Oct. 30, 2014, he illegally received benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program using the identity of an Ohio man, identified in court documents as D.E.M.
Bond may have obtained D.E.M.’s identification when the two men were imprisoned together in Florida in 1994, but Bond told investigators last year that he took it from a wallet he found that year, Woodcock said Tuesday.
“Over the course of at least the past 15 years, the defendant has lived under D.E.M.’s Social Security number and date of birth,” according to the prosecution version of events to which Bond pleaded guilty. “The defendant falsely asserted that he was a U.S. citizen, as D.E.M., knowing that his own immigration status would make him otherwise ineligible for benefits.”
The theft of SNAP benefits was discovered when the real D.E.M. applied for the program in his home state of Ohio and was told he already was collecting benefits in Maine, according to court documents. Bond knew D.E.M. was a real person, and Bond had “come into possession of D.E.M.’s lawfully issued Social Security card.”
Bond, who crossed the border illegally in 1993, has a long criminal history in Canada and the U.S., the judge said before imposing the sentence. Between 1987 and 1991, he was convicted of a dozen crimes in Canada. Bond was incarcerated for crimes in Texas, Missouri, Florida, Kansas and Maine, Woodcock said.
Neither the judge nor court documents explained when and how Bond came to live in Maine. At some point, Bond married and fathered two children using D.E.M.’s identity, the judge said.
“Mr. Bond, I consider your actions to be deplorable,” Woodcock told him Tuesday. “When you return to Canada after you serve your sentence, you will leave countless victims in this country [including] a wife and two children who bear your false name who don’t really know you.
“To have received benefits under a false name is reprehensible, but to have married and to have had children and to have never had the courage to tell them who you really are is immoral,” the judge told Bond.
Bond was arrested in Maine on June 26, 2015, and agreed to be held without bail until his sentencing. That time will be applied to his sentence.
He faced up to 10 years in federal prison on the theft of public money charge and a mandatory consecutive two years on the identity theft charge. He faced a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.
Under the prevailing federal sentencing guidelines, Bond’s recommended guideline sentence was between 12 and 18 months on the theft of public money charge. Woodcock sentenced Bond to 18 months on that charge and the mandatory two years on the identity theft charge.