States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|May 24, 2011||
HARTFORD JURY FINDS NIGERIAN CITIZEN GUILTY OF
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal jury in Hartford has found JOEY CHIBUKO, also known as “Joseph Pride” and other aliases, 46, a citizen of Nigeria last residing in West Hartford, guilty of one count of United States passport fraud, one count of making a false claim of United States citizenship, two counts of social security fraud, two counts of identity fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft. The trial before United States District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant began on May 19 and the verdict was returned today.
According to the evidence presented at trial, on May 3, 1993, CHIBUKO entered the United States, in California, on a six-month tourist visa. Shortly thereafter, CHIBUKO married an American citizen and was granted conditional residency in the U.S. However, during the period of his conditional residency, CHIBUKO was arrested by the Oakland (Calif.) Police Department. While on release from those charges, CHIBUKO fled to Massachusetts where he assumed a series of identities.
In 1999, CHIBUKO stole an identification document belonging to an American citizen who was residing in Massachusetts. CHIBUKO then assumed that individual’s identity, and eventually settled in the Hartford area where he used his assumed identity to obtain a U.S. passport, a social security number, and a Connecticut driver’s license. In 2008, CHIBUKO fraudulently registered to vote as a U.S. citizen.
On September 9, 2010, federal law enforcement agents executed a search warrant at CHIBUKO’s residence. The search resulted in the seizure of multiple authentic and counterfeit identification documents, including driver’s licenses, U.S. and Nigerian passports, and various birth certificates.
CHIBUKO has been detained in federal custody since his arrest on September 9, 2010.
Judge Bryant has scheduled sentencing for August 22, 2011, at which time CHIBUKO faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on the passport fraud count, a maximum term of imprisonment of three years for making a false claim of U.S. citizenship, a maximum term of imprisonment of five years on each of the two counts of social security fraud, and a maximum term of imprisonment of one year on each of the two counts of identity fraud. CHIBUKO also faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of two years on each of the aggravated identity theft counts, which must be imposed consecutively to any other sentence imposed.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security; the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations. The State of Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory provided critical assistance to the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher M. Mattei and Douglas P. Morabito.
U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Department of Justice
Project Safe Neighborhoods