|TRENTON - Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that 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 today pleaded guilty to using a fraudulent security clearance ID to work as a supervisor for a private firm that provides security services at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Bimbo Peter Oyewole, 54, of Elizabeth, pleaded guilty to an accusation charging him with exhibiting a false government document, a third-degree offense, before Superior Court Judge Peter V. Ryan in Essex County. 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. 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 Newark Liberty International Airport. The card gave him access to secure areas, including the tarmac and airplanes.
Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Oyewole be sentenced to a term of probation. Oyewole must forfeit his position at Newark Liberty International Airport. He has been held in the Essex County Jail since his arrest on May 14, and he will be detained until sentencing. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has filed a detainer against Oyewole, and he faces potential deportation. Judge Ryan scheduled sentencing for Oct. 19.
Deputy Attorneys General Vincent J. Militello and Veronica Allende took the guilty plea for the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice. Oyewole was charged as a result of an investigation by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s Office of Inspector General and the Division of Criminal Justice. They were assisted by the New Jersey State Police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the New York City Police Department.
“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 Chiesa. “My office, in turn, worked closely with the Port Authority’s Office of Inspector General, U.S. Immigration & 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. He will be a convicted felon, and he will continue to be detained by federal authorities, pending potential deportation.”
Port Authority Inspector General Robert E. Van Etten said: “Today’s conviction will serve notice to all that the Port Authority of NY & NJ 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.”
Deputy Attorney General Militello led the investigation for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau, with assistance from Deputy Attorney General Allende and Detective Janine Ponnwitz. Police Investigators Frank Vallone and John Tucci conducted the investigation for the Office of Investigations of the Port Authority Office of Inspector General. Detective Sgt. John Granato and Detective John Gorman investigated for the New Jersey State Police Security Officer Registration Act Unit.
Oyewole entered the U.S. in January 1989 on a temporary work visa. He began using Jerry E. Thomas’ identity, including his birth certificate and Social Security card, 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 Newark Liberty International Airport under several private contractors.