Chris Dieter knew something was amiss when he received a letter from Medicare about his recent trip to the emergency room in Key West, which is about 1,500 miles from where he lives.
Then a letter came from the Social Security Administration informing him his benefits would cease while he was incarcerated.
Dieter, 50, of Ida, Mich., and a Big Pine Key resident in 1991, hadn’t been to the Florida Keys in a decade. But his younger brother Craig Dieter had recently been bumping into police and landing in the Key West jail, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
Craig Dieter, 48, faces 15 felony counts of fraud after police say he stole his brother’s identity while living in the much warmer climate by acquiring fraudulent identification cards — including a Florida driver’s license — and getting treated twice at Lower Keys Medical Center’s emergency room.
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“I’m a vet and he even tried to get my VA benefits,” Chris Dieter said Tuesday, adding his brother never served. “He’s a con man, been a con man his whole life, in and out of prison. It’s sad he feels he has to do these things. We both grew up the same way.”
Dieter said they both grew up in the housing projects of Boston after being born in West Roxbury and that he isn’t happy about putting him in jail again. But Craig’s actions could affect his two sons’ naval careers, since they have high-level security clearances.
Aside from seeing him at their grandmother’s funeral recently, Chris Dieter said he hasn’t seen his brother in almost 15 years.
The younger Dieter, who is listed as homeless in Key West in jail records with a previous address in Toledo, Ohio, was arrested Friday and on Tuesday remained locked up at the county jail on Stock Island without bond.
His older sibling did his own investigating a couple of months ago and learned of the Key West hospital visits in December and this past January before calling police in Monroe County to report the fraud on May 31.
Craig Dieter used his brother’s name, date of birth, Social Security number, Medicare number and Michigan driver’s license to bounce around the Lower Keys under another identity, according to the arrest report. He even registered to vote and registered a 1976 30-foot sailboat under his brother’s name, deputies said.
A search of the jail records shows Craig posing as his brother Chris in the mug shot taken in March.
“I’m going to hopefully get that removed. That’s just crazy,” Chris Dieter said.
Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen on Twitter