For Immediate Release
Convicted Kidnapper and Rapist Sentenced to 22 Years After Having Assumed Another’s Identity for More Than 40 Years
Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge William F. Jung has sentenced Douglas Edward Bennett (77, Clearwater) to 22 years in federal prison for assuming another’s identity, applying for a passport in that identity, and possessing firearms as a convicted felon. Bennett was also ordered to pay a fine of $200,000. Bennett had pleaded guilty to the federal charges on September 30, 2021. After serving his federal sentence, Bennett will be transported to Connecticut to serve a 9 to 18-year state sentence.
According to court documents, in 1975, a Connecticut jury convicted Bennett of several violent felony and sex offenses, including robbery, kidnapping, sexual contact, rape, and two counts of deviate sexual intercourse, pursuant to which he was sentenced to 9-18 years in state prison. After his conviction, Bennett was permitted to remain out of custody pending appeal. After Bennet’s conviction was affirmed, he never surrendered to begin serving his sentence, and instead assumed the identity of Gordon Ewen, under which he lived for more than 40 years. According to Massachusetts death records, the real Gordon Ewen died in 1945.
Around July 2016, Bennett submitted a passport application using the name, date of birth, and Social Security number of Gordon Ewen and failed to disclose Bennett’s true identity.
On November 4, 2020, Bennett was arrested on the federal charges and on a warrant from the State of Connecticut. A fingerprint comparison confirmed that Bennett was the same person convicted in Connecticut in 1975. That same day, federal agents executed a search warrant at Bennett’s home where they discovered handwritten notes detailing the first time Bennett used Ewen’s identity and details on how he originally obtained Ewen’s identification documents. Additionally, inside Bennett’s home, investigators discovered and seized five firearms and nearly five thousand rounds of ammunition. As a convicted felon, Bennett is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.
“The sentence in this case sends a strong message: The Diplomatic Security Service is committed to ensuring violent criminals who commit identity theft to evade justice face consequences for their actions,” said Peter Kapoukakis, Special Agent in Charge of the DSS Miami Field Office. “DSS’ collaborative relationships with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Florida and our law enforcement partners continue to be essential in the pursuit of justice.”
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, with substantial support from the Department of State’s National Passport Center, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Connecticut U.S. Marshals Task Force. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Erin Claire Favorit.