Shawn Gover had a felony conviction and didn’t want people to know. He was also looking to hide from his four ex-wives. So in 2013, he stole the name and the Social Security number of a dead child.
Gover changed his name to that of Aaron Garth Roberts, who was born in 1974 in Denton, Tex., and died soon after.
His new, clean record helped Gover got a job in 2016 as head of finances for a golf club in Powhatan, Va. Then he stole $33,557. The fake identity also helped him buy a Sig Sauer semiautomatic pistol despite his felony conviction.
On Tuesday, his past caught up with him. Gover, 47, was sentenced in Richmond federal court to four years in prison, found guilty on identity theft and firearm charges.
Gover served in the U.S. Navy with distinction from 1990 to 1999, according to his court filings. But he was given an “other than honorable” discharge after marrying his second wife before divorcing his first. He met the young woman while doing military recruitment, and her surprise pregnancy inspired in Gover “a misguided sense of obligation to ‘do the right thing,’ ” public defender Carolyn V. Grady wrote to the court.
He got degrees in accounting and information systems from the University of Phoenix, then taught at the for-profit school’s campus in Southern California. At one point he worked for the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services. He married three more times and now has seven children, ranging in age from six to 20.
Until his arrest last year Gover paid child support, according to his attorney, although he has not seen any of his children in a long time.
He also acquired a felony conviction in Los Angeles in 2007 for grand theft, according to court records.
Gover moved to Henrico County with his new name and in March 2016 was hired at Independence Golf Club. From that fall until the summer of 2017, he started added $300 a month to his paycheck, according to court documents, ultimately adding $9,025 to his $75,000 annual salary. He also wrote about $10,000 in checks to himself and spent $14,547 on his company credit card.
A warrant was put out for Gover’s arrest in August; he was arrested in September. He pleaded guilty and agreed to the four-year sentence.