SAN DIEGO - A Senegalese National assumed the identity of a San Diego toddler that died in 1957, and used an altered birth certificate to get a social security number and identification card according to the Office of the U.S. Attorney.
The U.S. Attorneys Office says Almamy Baba Ly pleaded guilty Thursday to identity theft charges and admitted to misusing the identity of a deceased American citizen for 31 years. Ly used the identity to get identification documents and thousands of dollars in federal, state, and local government benefits.
At a hearing according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Ly said in 1988 he assumed the identity of Lyle Lindsey, the son of a military veteran, who died in a car accident as a toddler in 1957.
Ly admitted to being born in Senegal, and did not have a legal status in the United States before he obtained an altered copy of the deceased toddler's birth certificate.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Ly was convicted over the 31 years of several crimes that included drug sales and robbery, under the toddler's identity.
From 2012 to 2019 Ly said he received over $80,000 in federal student loans and Pell Grants, and received thousands of dollars in benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Border Patrol agents arrested Ly in La Mesa, California where he lived. It was there that agents found a recently issued Senegalese national identification card with Ly's true name and birthday.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says the search warrant and arrest for Ly came after a long investigation by the U.S. Border Patrol with help from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of the State, and the United States Embassy and Homeland Security Investigations in Senegal.
“This was an especially sophisticated and devious fraud that victimized U.S. taxpayers for decades and forced a family to revisit a traumatic loss,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “Finding out that someone is committing crimes in the name of a child who was lost many years ago brings unacceptable anxiety to his survivors. Identity thieves target hundreds of thousands of deceased Americans every year, but I’m proud to say that because of the efforts of federal agents and prosecutor Jeffrey Hill, one of the most egregious and enduring violators has been stopped.”
Ly is facing up to 55 years in federal prison and a fine of up to one million at his sentencing on December 2, 2019.