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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Rochester Man Found Guilty Of Lying On Application For Tsa Secure Airport ID

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that a federal jury has convicted Darnell Jerome, 20, of Rochester, NY, of making a false statement. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Craig R. Gestring and Kyle P. Rossi, who handled the prosecution of the case, stated that the defendant applied for employment at a restaurant at the Greater Rochester International Airport. The restaurant was located in the sterile area of the airport, beyond the security screening zone. Because they have access to knives and other contraband items to which screened passengers do not, employees of the airport or contractors who work in the restaurants or stores inside the sterile area are required to obtain a special federal Security Identification Display Area (SIDA) badge and pass a federal background investigation, which includes a security threat assessment.

In March 2016, Jerome filled out a security clearance application and falsely reported that he had never been arrested. However, only a month before he falsified the SIDA clearance application form, Jerome was convicted of a felony, Robbery in the Second Degree, in Monroe County for which he was sentenced to five years’ probation. During that robbery, the defendant displayed what appeared to be a firearm.

Federal regulations put in place by the Department of Homeland Security since September 11, 2001, prohibit persons with certain disqualifying felony criminal convictions from obtaining a clearance to work at an airport. The defendant’s 2016 Robbery conviction, which is considered a crime of violence, was such a disqualifying offense. The security clearance application completed by the defendant clearly listed the specific disqualifying conditions on its face.  
The verdict is the culmination of an investigation by the Federal Air Marshal Service, under the direction of Supervisory Air Marshal-in-Charge William Hall.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 21, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford, who presided over the trial.

Updated January 12, 2017