Twenty-Six Year Fugitive Arrested Under Claimed Identity

WILMINGTON – A joint investigation between the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and the Social Security Administration leads to the arrest of an individual who claimed the identity of someone who died in 1983.

Detectives were notified by the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, that an individual in Wilmington was applying for Social Security benefits using the identity of a Virginia native who died in 1983.   The investigation revealed this suspect had obtained a Georgia Drivers License in the name of the deceased, William Bolyn Garrett, one month after his death.  Subsequently, a North Carolina driver’s license was issued in 2008.

On Wednesday, Detectives apprehended and arrested the suspect without incident at the Social Security Administration Office in Wilmington, as he arrived for a scheduled appointment.

When interviewed by Detectives, the suspect continued to claim to be 70-year old William Garrett, even after being shown a certified copy of the death certificate.

The suspect, facing charges of Financial Identity Fraud and False Pretense, was felony processed at the New Hanover County Detention Facility as John Doe.  Doe received a $200,000 secured bond.

Overnight, the Sheriff’s Office was notified by the FBI of positive fingerprint identification.  Through coordination with law enforcement authorities in Florida, Detectives determined John Doe was actually 69-year old Charles Lee Sparks.  Mr. Sparks is a twenty-six year fugitive, who escaped after serving one year of a twenty-year sentence for drug trafficking.

A fugitive from justice has been served on Mr. Sparks who is being held without bond at the New Hanover County Detention Facility.

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Sheriff's Office: 3950 Juvenile Center Road • Castle Hayne, NC 28429 • Phone 910-798-4200 • Fax 910-798-4212