June 18, 2011 -- An American Eagle Airlines flight attendant is accused of stealing another man's identity to land his job and fly around the world, according to the Miami-Dade police.
Jophan Porter, a 38-year-old illegal immigrant from Guyana, was arrested Friday at Miami International Airport. Records show he is also a former resident of the Bronx in New York City.
He is charged with identity fraud and was being held in Miami-DadeCounty jail.
Police say Porter assumed the identity of Anthony Frair, 40, who lives in New York and claims not to know the man. Porter was caught after Frair tried to apply for food stamps, but was denied because government records showed he had a job with American Eagle Airlines.
The FBI and other agencies are trying to figure out how Porter was able to beat federal screening rules, which were enhanced after 9/11, and get hired as a flight attendant even though Frair, the man whose identity he allegedly assumed, has an arrest record. According to public records, a man sharing his name and birth month was arrested on domestic assault charges in Florida in 2008.
A simple Google search on Frair would have brought up his arrest record, leaving investigators wondering if the airline, which is owned by AMR Corporation, the same parent company as American Airlines, did even a basic background check.
According to the Miami Herald, AMR Corporation released this statement:
"American Eagle Airlines can confirm that an American Eagle flight attendant has been arrested on charges involving identity theft that does not involve a customer. American Eagle is actively involved in the investigation with law enforcement authorities, including the FBI. Further information on this case should come from law enforcement authorities who are handling the investigation."
Porter allegedly used the stolen identity to obtain a U.S. passport, a U.S. Department of Transportation ID card and at least three Florida driver's licenses.
When Porter was arrested at MIA, he had just returned from a personal trip to London. He has been charged with identity fraud and forgery, among other crimes, and is also on immigration hold.