The Murphy twins were born in 1962, but Robert died a day after their birth. Decades later, brother Thomas resurrected him in a way by collecting nearly $600,000 in fake benefits in his name, reports the New York Post. The Queens trash collector allegedly posed as his long-dead twin to set up a phony driver's license and bank account, and even rented an apartment in his name and introduced himself to neighbors as Robert. Police say Thomas, 52, collected disability benefits for nearly 20 years as Robert, who supposedly suffered from depression.
"It sounds like a novel, doesn't it?" says a spokesperson for the DA's office in Queens. One thing that might have helped the scheme is that Thomas Murphy's father requested and received Social Security cards for both of his sons in 1973, though it's not clear why, reports the Daily News. Authorities say the scam finally unraveled when facial-recognition technology at the DMV determined that the photos of Thomas and Robert on their respective licenses were actually of the same person. Thomas faces 19 years in prison on charges including identity theft and fraud.