TRENTON, N.J. – A Nigerian man, who came to the U.S. in 1989 and assumed the identity of a murder victim to remain in the country illegally, has pleaded guilty to exhibiting a false government document. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's Office of Inspector General, the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the New Jersey State Police.
Bimbo Peter Oyewole, 54, of Elizabeth, N.J., pleaded guilty to the third-degree offense, before Superior Court Judge Peter V. Ryan in Essex County, N.J.
"Document fraud poses a significant threat to both national security and public safety," said Andrew McLees, special agent in charge of HSI Newark. "HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and other critical infrastructures in protecting the American public."
According to court documents, Oyewole admitted that he used the name, date of birth and Social Security number of a man named Jerry E. Thomas, who was murdered in Queens, N.Y., in 1992, to obtain an airport security ID card, called a Secure Identification Display Area Card (SIDA). Oyewole used the SIDA card as a supervisor for FJC Security Services, a private firm contracted to staff vehicle access gates and provide other security services at EWR. The card gave him access to secure areas, including the tarmac and airplanes.
"The Port Authority moved swiftly to arrest this defendant and remove him from his security position at the airport when they learned he was using a false identity," said Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa. "My office, in turn, worked closely with the Port Authority's Office of Inspector General, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the New York City Police to investigate him, ensure he was not a threat to national security, and prosecute him for his crime."
"Whatever the motive, it's a serious crime to falsify government documents, particularly when it involves identity theft and issues of public security," said Stephen J. Taylor, director of the Division of Criminal Justice. "This defendant has rightly faced serious consequences. By the time he is sentenced, he will have spent roughly six months in custody and he will be a convicted felon."
Port Authority Inspector General Robert E. Van Etten said, "Today's conviction will serve notice to all that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will not tolerate fraud or any other criminal misconduct at its facilities. The Port Authority Office of Inspector General and its law enforcement partners will aggressively identify, investigate and bring to justice those who corrupt the integrity and security of our airports and facilities. I wish to thank the New Jersey Attorney General's Office and all of our law enforcement partners for their invaluable assistance, participation and contribution to this investigation."
Oyewole entered the U.S. in January 1989 on a temporary work visa. He began using Jerry E. Thomas' identity several weeks before Thomas was murdered on July 20, 1992. Thomas was shot outside a YMCA in Queens where he was staying. Oyewole used his identity to obtain a New Jersey driver's license and high school equivalency diploma. He also obtained employment in Thomas' name, holding security jobs at EWR under several private contractors.
Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Oyewole be sentenced to a term of probation. Oyewole is scheduled for sentencing October 19.
Oyewole came into ICE custody September 11 and is in removal proceedings. He is being detained in an ICE detention facility pending an immigration hearing before an immigration judge.