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Document and Benefit Fraud
12/17/2009

15 illegal aliens allegedly used fake documents to gain work at Stewart airport

NEWBURGH, N.Y. - A Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) investigation revealed on Dec. 17 that illegal aliens unlawfully worked at and had access to sensitive operations areas at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, N.Y. The investigation was led by the New York State Police in conjunction with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General, and the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

The investigation alleges that more than a dozen illegal aliens used false documents to obtain employment at Empire Warehouse Solutions (EWS) at 149 Cargo Road in Newburgh, N.Y.

"Those who use fraudulent documents to gain employment mask not only their true identities but also their motives," said James T. Hayes Jr., special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in New York. "To be able to protect the integrity of our nation's airports and other critical infrastructure, we need to know who is working in our nation's most sensitive areas."

The investigation was initiated by an alert airport employee who questioned suspicious identity documents that were presented to him. While these documents were being verified, it was discovered that multiple EWS employees has used similar forged documents to gain employment and access to sensitive airport operations areas. The identity documents consisted mainly of fake Social Security and resident alien (aka "green") cards. However, the investigation showed that there was no indication that these individuals ever posed a threat to the general traveling public at the airport or had any connection to broader criminal activity.

ICE made three administrative arrests for immigration violations. The New York State Police charged 12 other illegal aliens with falsifying business records in the first degree, and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree. All the individuals arrested will be placed in deportation proceedings and their immigration cases heard by a federal immigration judge.

Critical infrastructure is defined as systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, that are so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.

This investigation is ongoing. Anyone with related information is asked to contact the New York State Police at (845) 457-1388 or ICE at (866) DHS-2ICE.