Newark airport security supervisor, Bimbo Olumuyiwa Oyewole, a Nigerian national used the name of a murder victim to hide his illegal alien status for twenty years.
Authorities say Oyewole worked undetected for years as a security guard and later a security supervisor. His arrest came on the day a federal report found the Transportation Security Administration's handling of security breaches at Newark Liberty International deficient. Had the Legal Workforce Act, H.R. 2885, been enacted, the no-match provisions would have detected Oyewole.
Oyewole, 54, worked at the airport, starting in 1992, using the name of Jerry Thomas, who was killed that year in New York City. He was arrested, after an anonymous tip, at his home in Elizabeth on Monday and faced charges including identity theft, authorities said.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the area's main airports and other transit hubs, said Oyewole entered the United States illegally in 1989 and had worked under several contractors at the airport, most recently FJC Security Services, and supervised about 30 guards. The agency said its investigation found no indication that he used the fake identity for any reason other than to live in the United States.
Port Authority leaders had spoken with FJC officials "and will meet with them in the coming days to take every legally permissible step to recheck their security personnel on a regular basis and to protect our customers, employees and facilities," agency spokesman Steve Coleman said.
FJC Security, which received an airport contract in 2003, said it conducted a background check on Oyewole as had New Jersey state police and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
"In all cases, he passed the background checks," FJC spokesman Michael McKeon said. "During his time with FJC, he had nothing in his record or his performance to indicate a cause for concern or a reason to question the state police and federal government's background checks."
In a statement, the TSA said it was reviewing the Port Authority's procedures for validating employee and contractor documents.
"This investigation indicates that the individual's identification documents were presented to the Port Authority for verification about a decade before TSA existed," the statement said.
However, the Legal Workforce Act would require the Social Security Administration to notify employers whenever there is a mismatch between an employee and the Social Security number on file for them with the employer. Under H.R. 2885, the SSA would have been required to notify the Port Authority that an employee of theirs was using a Social Security number assigned to a different person. The number would have been locked and the Port Authority would have been required to E-Verify Oyewole resulting in a non-confirmation.
New Jersey requires security guards to undergo training under the Security Officer Registration Act and be fingerprinted. The fingerprints are run through the state police criminal history database before a guard is certified.
A candidate is disqualified if he or she has a conviction for a fourth-degree offense or higher or a drug offense of any level. Oyewole, as Thomas, was certified under SORA, he said.
A report released Monday by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General found that only 42 percent of reported security breaches from January 2010 to May 2011 led to corrective action, though it also found TSA had worked to improve its response.
Read the full story at the Associated Press.
Updated: Fri, May 18th 2012 @ 9:43am EDT