Home Nonviolent defense Invisible ink and coded papers add mystery to identity theft case

Invisible ink and coded papers add mystery to identity theft case


HONOLULU (AP) — Bobby Edward Fort was 27 when he enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1994 and retired 22 years later with a secret security clearance that landed him a job in Honolulu in as a defense contractor.

But in reality, Bobby Fort was long dead. He was just 3 months old when he choked to death in a Texas hospital in 1967.

The Bobby Fort who enlisted in the Coast Guard had stolen the identity of the baby who died 35 years ago. A fake birth certificate helped him get five passports, driver’s licenses and references from the Department of Defense.

The fraud was discovered last week. On Thursday, the man, authorities said, had impersonated Fort in front of a judge, who asked him to say his name: “Walter Glenn Primrose,” the 66-year-old said.

Primrose was held without bond by a U.S. District Court judge after a prosecutor provided new details about how he and his wife had been living fraudulently for decades under the stolen identities of two infants who died in Texas.

While the hearing further delved into the mystery of why the couple let go of their pasts, it was unclear whether the case against them went beyond impersonation, although a prosecutor suggested he might have overseas connections.

“We believe the defendant is obviously quite adept at impersonating other people, obtaining government identification documents, defrauding, avoiding detection,” the assistant US attorney said. Wayne Myers. “He can – we don’t say for sure – but he can have troubling foreign connections. And if he does, he may be able to use them for help.

A search of the couple’s home in Hawaii revealed faded Polaroids of the two jackets that appear to be authentic Russian KGB uniforms, Myers said. An expert has determined that the snapshots were taken in the 1980s.

The search also produced an invisible ink kit, documents with coded language and maps showing military bases, Myers said.

When the pair were left in a room together, they were recorded saying “things consistent with espionage,” Myers said.

Federal defender Craig Jerome said the government only provided “speculation and innuendo” that the pair were involved in something more nefarious than “purely white-collar, non-violent crime.”

“If it weren’t for the speculation that the government has injected into these proceedings without providing any real evidence…he would definitely be released,” Jerome said.

Prosecutors feared Primrose would flee if released. They noted in court documents that he was an avionics electrical technician in the Coast Guard and was highly trained to communicate covertly if released.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Rom Trader said he based his detention order on the alleged fraud “repeatedly over a long period of time”.

Morrison faces a bail hearing on Tuesday.

His lawyer said the couple – whatever names they used – had lived a law-abiding life. Attorney Megan Kau told The Associated Press the couple posed for photos in the alleged KGB jackets for fun.

“She wants everyone to know she’s not a spy,” Kau said. “All of this has been grossly disproportionate. It is the government that goes too far. »

The couple’s story begins in Texas, where Primrose and Gwynn Darle Morrison attended high school and college together and married in 1980, according to court documents.

In the early 1980s, they told their family they were going into the witness protection program before abruptly abandoning their home and leaving Texas, Myers said. They handed over the keys to their house in Nacogdoches and told the family members to take whatever they wanted. The house was then seized.

When they reappeared, they had new names and different explanations of what had happened.

In 1987, Primrose assumed the identity of Fort, a child who died in 1967 in Burnet, Texas. Morrison assumed the identity of Julie Lyn Montague, who died in 1968 in the same hospital as Fort. Primrose and Morrison, both born in 1955, were more than ten years older than the birth dates shown on their new IDs.

“The defendant and his wife allegedly told other associates that they had to change their names for legal and financial reasons,” Myers said. “And that in the future they may be contacted using their new names, Fort and Montague.”

At one point, Primrose told someone he was a government agent and couldn’t share photos of himself.

The couple remarried under their assumed names in 1988, according to court records.

Primrose had a long interest in espionage, Myers said. His wife had anti-government and anti-military sentiments and, according to an associate, lived in Romania when she was part of the communist bloc.

Kau denied that Morrison ever lived in Romania.

The couple, who were arrested at their Kapolei home on Friday, are charged with conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, false statement in a passport application and aggravated impersonation. They face up to 17 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Inside their home, investigators found correspondence in which an associate believed Primrose had joined the CIA or become a terrorist, Myers said.

Morrison used her real name to open a post office box, where she told her family to contact her. When her father died, her family could not reach her and appealed to local law enforcement to find her.

“Even the defendant’s family can’t find him when they need him,” Myers said.


Melley reported from Los Angeles.