Mystery solved: Man living under another’s identity for 3 decades sentenced to prison
Image via Fresh Take Florida.

012223 Stolen Identity BJ 01
'Today’s sentence rightfully holds the defendant accountable for stealing the identity of a U.S. Army veteran and receiving benefits to which he was not entitled.'

A man who assumed the identity of a disabled veteran for more than three decades — and even served a prison term for murder in New York using the false identity — will spend seven years in federal prison, a judge ruled.

Lorenzo Anthoni Alfred, 63, came to the U.S. illegally from Trinidad and Tobago in the 1980s to escape drug charges, according to court records. He pretended to be Kelvin Johnson, but for nearly two years was known in the federal court system only as “John Doe” as prosecutors tried to figure out his real identity.

He pleaded guilty in May in U.S. District Court in Tampa to an indictment accusing him of making false statements in a passport application and aggravated identity theft.

The prosecutor, Jennifer Peresie, told the judge that Alfred has “no respect for the law, and no respect for truthfulness on official paperwork — given his long history of misrepresenting his identity to obtain documents.” She said Kelvin Johnson was “significantly victimized” because he had undergone investigations to prove his identity to government agencies.

Prosecutors said Johnson temporarily lost his Social Security benefits for one month after Alfred was arrested using Johnson’s name, and Johnson was unable to obtain credit in his own name at least 10 times. Johnson avoided being evicted from his apartment only because his landlord was understanding, prosecutors said. At one point, Florida demanded that Johnson pay back the value of food stamps that Alfred had obtained under his identity.

According to court records, the scheme unraveled when Alfred obtained Johnson’s birth certificate and Social Security card to claim he was Johnson to come to the United States.

Alfred even served 25 years in a New York prison for second-degree murder and robbery under the false identity.

Prosecutors said after he was released in 2014, he obtained a New York State identification card, a New York prescription drug identification card and a credit card, all under Johnson’s name.

In 2019, he applied for a passport in Johnson’s name while living in Tampa. Federal agents found the names and other details associated with two sets of fingerprints, which led to his arrest.

A grand jury indicted Alfred as John Doe in June 2021 when it still didn’t know his true identity. He was arrested four months later in New York when he went to a Social Security Administration office to collect benefits he applied to receive under Johnson’s name.

Prosecutors obtained Alfred’s birth certificate from Trinidad and Tobago and photographs and records from when he was an inmate in the New York prison. He was sentenced earlier this week.

“Today’s sentence rightfully holds the defendant accountable for stealing the identity of a U.S. Army veteran and receiving benefits to which he was not entitled,” said Special Agent Christopher Algieri.

The judge urged the Bureau of Prisons to imprison Alfred in a minimum-security facility and asked that he receive vocational training in welding and a medical evaluation for mental illnesses.

After Alfred completes his sentence, he will be on supervised release for three years. During that time he can’t commit any crimes, possess or use a controlled substance and must submit to drug tests.


This story was produced by Fresh Take Florida, a news service of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. The reporter can be reached at [email protected]. You can donate to support our students here.

Fresh Take Florida


  • Ian

    October 6, 2023 at 12:09 pm

    Are you sure his name wasn’t Don Draper?

  • PeterH

    October 6, 2023 at 12:21 pm

    A grifter living in Florida…. I’m shocked!

Comments are closed.


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