NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A top-ranking security official at Newark Liberty Airport, who is accused of using a murder victim’s name to get hired, is now considered a person of interest in the victim’s still unsolved killing, law enforcement sources told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg.
Earlier Tuesday, Nigerian immigrant Bimbo Olumuyiwa Oyewole pleaded not guilty to identity theft.
1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg With More On The Story
For the past 17 years, Oyewole, 54, has sailed through background checks by the Port Authority using the name Jerry Thomas, police said. Thomas was murdered in Queens on July 20, 1992.
A day after his arrest, Oyewole appeared at court via video conference on Tuesday and bail was hiked to $250,000.
WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reports
Officials are also looking into whether he was involved in Thomas’ death. According to law enforcement sources, Oyewole began using the murder victim’s identity three weeks before he was shot.
An anonymous letter sent to the Port Authority Inspector General’s office in March tipped off authorities to Oyewole’s identity, law enforcement sources told 1010 WINS.
Oyewole somehow obtained the birth certificate and Social Security number of Thomas, officials said. Oyewole also used Thomas’s identity to secure a driver’s license, security guard license, an airport ID and even credit cards, according to authorities.
“In this case, the defendant utilized an elaborate and complex scheme of identity theft to defraud his employer, the State of New Jersey, the federal government and the Port Authority,” Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Inspector General Robert Van Etten said.
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Oyewole had at least four other aliases and entered the country in 1989, investigators said. At the time of his arrest Monday, Oyewole was in charge of 30 other security guards and had access to airport tarmacs and passenger plans.
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Sources tell CBS 2 authorities are concerned about the identity scam itself. They are worried the scam could have been used by thousands, including by some who might by terrorist “sleeper agents” working at critical locations throughout the country.
1010 WINS’ John Montone reports
Meanwhile, a new government report finds security at the airport isn’t doing enough to keep passengers safe.
The report blasted airport officials for not fixing problems after security breaches, like the one in 2010 when a student slipped past a checkpoint.
The report found that less than half of reported security breaches from January 2010 to May 2011 led to corrective action.
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