A US defense contractor and his wife — who were once photographed in Russian KGB uniforms — were charged July 21 with aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit offense against the United States after living under the identities of two dead Texas children for decades.
According to federal court documents unsealed Thursday, Walter Glenn Primrose and Gwynn Darle Morrison were arrested in Kapolei, Hawaii, on July 22. The pair were living under the names Bobby Edward Fort and Julie Lyn Montague, respectively.
The documents revealed that Primrose was allegedly issued five U.S. passports using the identity of Bobby Fort, which helped him get secret security clearance with the US Coast Guard and as a defense contractor.
Assistant US Attorney Thomas Muehleck said old photos show the couple wearing KGB uniforms, suggesting the pair are linked to the Russian spy agency, CBS News reported. A “close associate” allegedly said Morrison lived in Romania while it was under Soviet Union control.
According to Morrison’s attorney, the defendant never lived in Romania, and the couple put on the same KGB jacket in jest. Attorney Megan Kau insisted that her client is not a spy, and that both she and Primrose have lived as law-abiding citizens of in the US for thirty years, even if they did use new identities.
“She wants everyone to know she’s not a spy,” Kau said. “This has all been blown way out of proportion. It’s government overreaching.”
Kevin O’Grady, an Army reservist and defense attorney not involved in the case, said Primrose’s security clearance gave him access to information that is “enormously valuable to our enemies.”
“The Coast Guard has a unique perspective on our vulnerabilities,” he said, noting that Hawaii “is a prime target for a lot of espionage and such.”
John Montague, the father of Julie who died at just 3 weeks old, said he was shocked to learn that someone had stolen his deceased daughter’s identity.
“I still can’t believe it happened,” Montague said. “The odds are like one-in-a-trillion that they found her and used her name. People stoop to do anything nowadays. Let kids rest in peace.”
Both of the defendants were born in 1955, attended high school in Port Lavaca, Texas, and went to Stephen F. Austin University, court records showed. The couple married in 1980.
It is unclear why the pair assumed the stolen identities in 1987.
Retired FBI agent Tom Simon said the allegations against the couple are “staggering.”
“I can only imagine that internal investigators at the Coast Guard are scrubbing every single record that the defendant ever accessed to do an internal threat assessment. They need to understand what, if anything, is in the hands of the adversaries,” Simon said, according to Hawaii News Now.
Over the weekend, US authorities revealed that a Russian national had been charged over recruiting political activists in an effort to spread pro-Russian propaganda and interfere with U.S. elections.