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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

Monday, December 9, 2019

Senegalese National Sentenced to Federal Prison after Impersonating Deceased U.S. Citizen for 31 years

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey D. Hill (619) 546-7924

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – December 9, 2019

SAN DIEGO – Almamy Baba Ly was sentenced in federal court this morning to 30 months in prison for misusing the identity of a deceased American citizen for 31 years in order to obtain identification documents and thousands of dollars in federal, state and local government benefits.

U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia also ordered Ly, 63, to pay restitution of $88,551 to the U.S. Department of Education and the County of San Diego. Ly will likely be deported at the conclusion of his prison sentence.

Ly pleaded guilty on September 12, 2019, admitting that he assumed the identity of Lyle Lindsey in 1988.  Lindsey, a native San Diegan and the son of a military veteran, died in a tragic automobile accident as a toddler in 1957.  Ly admitted that he actually was born in Senegal in 1955, that he lacked any legal status in the United States, and that in 1988 he used an altered copy of Lindsey’s birth certificate to apply for a Social Security number and a California Identification Card and Driver’s License. Ly thereafter committed many crimes, including drug sales and robbery, and went to prison under Lyle Lindsey’s identity on multiple occasions. Ly also admitted that he used Lindsey’s identity to apply for and receive federal student loans and Pell Grants, and CalFresh/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits that he was not legally entitled to receive. 

“I commend the work of Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Hill and our law enforcement partners in stopping this decades-long fraud and bringing to justice a man who exploited the identity of an American citizen,” said United States Attorney Robert Brewer. “This prison sentence sends a message to those who commit fraud and identity theft: There will be consequences, and your crimes will not go unpunished.”

On behalf of the United States Border Patrol, San Diego Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke said: “I am proud of the hard work and tenacity that has led to the conviction and now sentencing of this man, who has broken U.S. laws for over 30 years.”

In July 2019, U.S. Border Patrol agents served a search warrant and arrested Ly at his residence in La Mesa, California.  During the search, agents seized a recently-issued Senegalese national identification card that revealed Ly’s true name and date of birth.  The arrest and search warrant were the culmination of a lengthy investigation by the Border Patrol, with the assistance of the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of State, and the United States Embassy and Homeland Security Investigations in Dakar, Senegal.  

DEFENDANT                       Case Number 19-cr-2864-AJB          

Almamy Baba Ly                   La Mesa, California.


Unlawful Production of an Identification Document – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1028(a)(1)

Theft of Public Property – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 641


United States Border Patrol – Sector Intelligence Unit / Chula Vista Station

United States Homeland Security Investigations

California Department of Motor Vehicles Investigations Division

Bureau of Public Assistance Investigations, County of San Diego

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
Updated December 9, 2019