NYC Sanitation Worker Impersonates Dead Twin for Years to Steal Half-Million Dollars in Benefits: Officials

A Queens sanitation worker impersonated his dead twin brother for nearly two decades in order to receive welfare benefits, and collected more than half a million dollars in the ruse, authorities say.

Thomas Murphy, 54, of the Rockaways, created a whole identity for his twin brother Robert, who died shortly after his birth in 1962, according to the state inspector general and the Queens district attorney.

Murphy began using his brother's Social Security number in October 1994, when he applied for benefits in his brother's name, officials said. He continued to impersonate him for more than 18 years, and collected $580,000 in public benefits through November 2013. 

Authorities said Murphy led a double life, maintaining two different addresses, bank accounts and driver's licenses in his and his twin's names. As an employee of the city Department of Sanitation since 2006, Murphy was earning a salary of $72,000 a year and therefore unqualified to receive the benefits he was fraudulently getting through his dead-twin scheme, authorities said.

Murphy pleaded guilty in Queens County Supreme Court to second-degree larceny and first-degree falsifying business records, both felonies. He's agreed to repay the money, which came from Medicaid, SNAP, state rental subsidies and the Social Security Administration, authorities said. 

Murphy, a lifelong Queens resident, is due back in court April 4 for sentencing. Messages were left with his attorney and with the Department of Sanitation.  

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