An Oregon man pleaded guilty Wednesday to misusing a British passport obtained in the name of a child who died over five decades ago.
Timothy Matthews, 54, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and his sentencing was scheduled for June. However, he has no prior convictions and, therefore, is expected to get no more than probation. The American did not make a statement at the hearing in federal court Wednesday, and also declined to comment outside the courtroom.
According to court documents, Matthews was born Timothy Scheidt in Lander, Wyoming, in 1963 and reportedly changed his surname in 2013.
About two decades ago, the United Kingdom issued him a passport in the name of Peter Matthews — a baby who died in Neath, Wales, some days after being born Sept. 6, 1963.
Matthews used the fake passport to enter Mexico and other countries before his fraud was finally detected in 2012, while he was crossing California’s San Ysidro port of entry from Tijuana. The U.K. revoked his passport in October that year.
U.S. Department of State Special Agent Michael T. McLean stated Timothy changed his surname to Matthews Sept. 6, 2013, the day the deceased child would have turned 50 years old, according to Multnomah County court records, New York Post reported.
His lawyer, Alison Clark, told a judge at a previous hearing her client decided he liked that last name Matthews after using it for long. Clark declined to comment on the case after Wednesday’s hearing.
However, authorities are yet to discover a motive for Matthews obtaining the passport under the baby’s name. He was able to get United States passports as Timothy Scheidt, his birth name, and later, Timothy Matthews.
There have been several other instances of people using fake passports for various motives.
For instance, in March 2014, an illegal immigrant, who smuggled himself into the U.K. on a fake passport, mounted a “human rights” battle to stay in the country. Mohammed Zulfiqar, 55, paid £15,000 ($21,205) to an unknown person for creating forged travel documents in order to enter the country illegally in 2002.
After spending more than a decade in the U.K., he was arrested after he applied for a license to work as a doorman in the security industry and used the fake passport to support his application.
In July 2014, a former federal government employee faced nearly 100 charges in association with an alleged scheme to produce and likely sell fraudulent Canadian passports. Officers with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested Aline Rozeline Zeitoune, 50, a former passport processing officer with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
“It was alleged that the actions of a former CIC employee resulted in 22 people having been able to fraudulently obtain Canadian passports using false names and other false identification,” the police force had said then.