A FRAUDSTER has been jailed for hijacking the identity of a former city banker to pocket £58,000 in benefits... just weeks after completing a prison stint for the same dupe on the same victim.

Sean Owen, 56, impersonated “the genuine Sean Owen” - a man who lives 35 miles away from him, in Southend.


Angry - the real Sean Owen


Chancer - the fake Sean Owen

He was jailed for the crime in August 2011 but was back to his old tricks when he claimed a DWP crisis loan just four weeks after being released a year later.

The imposter used real Sean’s National Insurance number to apply for employment support allowance and disability benefits totalling £58,789, the court heard.

Victim Mr Owen only found out when his accountant was told he couldn’t get a tax rebate in 2018 - because ‘he’ was already getting payouts.

Fake Sean admitted three counts of dishonestly making a false statement to obtain a benefit, and was jailed for two years.

But even when he was jailed, he insisted he was using his real name.

Victim Sean - who reckons the fraudster has been milking his ID since 2005 - said: “’I have never committed a crime in my life.

“The stress of the whole experience caused me to break down. I was being taken advantage of by an awful conman who was ruining my life.

“I was working full time and had an extremely good job in London as a money broker. This identity theft has been extremely stressful.

“The whole experience has ruined my life and career. I really hope that this person is brought to justice again because it has made my life a living hell.

“Sending him to prison should have done the trick in terms of him being punished but it just carried on.’’

The real Sean, a dad-of-one from Southend, believes his problems all started when he he lost his passport back in 1999.

He says after his old passport expired, his new one got lost.

The most recent court case heard no details were available about the first time fake Sean duped the DWP, but real Sean says he found out in 2009.

He said his accountant discovered he wasn’t entitled to a tax rebate because of benefit claims he actually never made.

He added: “I had never claimed benefits before but I just thought that it was a simple mix-up with records.”

However, the trickster was finally exposed after Sean applied for a new position at another broker firm in February 2010 and had to undergo a CRB check.

When the results came back, in May 2010, he claims it said he was a thief who had been jailed for six months concurrently for shoplifting offences in 2006.

Real Sean, who has no criminal record, said he had to prove his innocence and attend a local police station to be interviewed.

Fake Sean was jailed for two months for shoplifting in January and May 2006.

Fake Sean was jailed for 42 months for the dupe at Blackfriars Crown Court in August 2011 - but was let out in July 2012.

And just four weeks later he was back to his old tricks - using the same innocent man’s ID to apply for money, the court heard.

He made claims in August 2012, February 2013 and April 2013, and fraudulently got cash until his benefits were suspended in May 2018, Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court heard.

Stacey Holland, prosecuting, confirmed the offence used “the same false identity” as his first offence.

She said: “He was released from the sentence on July 11, 2012. These fraudulent claims started just four weeks later.

“The claim was fraudulent from the outset, it was committed whilst on licence given that he had only been released four weeks earlier.”

Alison Marks, mitigating, said: “What the defendant says is this: Mr Owen doesn’t have a birth certificate. He’s never had a National Insurance number.

“His earliest memories are living with Irish travellers in Wigan and from the age of nine in Reading and as far as he knows his name is Sean Owen.”

Speaking at an earlier hearing at Wood Green Crown Court Judge Joanna Greenberg QC said: “One would hope if he had this problem he would have raised it with them but on the face of it he just went back to his old habits.”

The defendant, of St Mungo’s hostel, in Tottenham, who is being treated for mouth cancer, was sentenced to two years in jail for one count, and to two years imprisonment for two further counts.

Real Sean claims he visited his GP and discovered illnesses and appointments he hadn’t had, were being attached to his medical records.

He spiralled into depression and started suffering from high blood pressure and took voluntary redundancy from his job.

He claims he’s still being confused for the ‘fake’ Sean, and is being pursued for unpaid council tax for a home he’s never lived in.