Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A Romanian man has served his time for pretending to be his identical twin at a secure job refueling jetliners at the Salt Lake City International Airport.
Olimpiu Constantine Nedelcu was sentenced to five months he'd already served and released by U.S. District Judge David Winder on Friday. He was put on parole for 24 months.
Nedelcu's brother, Silviu Lucregiu Nedelcu, had a security badge and the required computer training to work in a secure part of the airport.
Olimpiu Nedelcu, 29, was filling in for his brother because Silviu couldn't show up for work that day.
But federal prosecutors said they have doubts about whether Silviu Nedelcu planned to keep the job or hand it off to help Olimpiu Nedelcu.
"It was a mistake," Olimpiu Nedelcu told the judge. "I didn't think of the consequences."
Olimpiu Nedelcu previously entered into a plea bargain confessing to one felony count of entering an aircraft area by fraudulent means, which can carry a punishment of five years in prison. Nedelcu nonetheless asked the judge Friday to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor.
"I can't do that. It's a felony," Winder said. "With all due respect to you and your brother, I don't know what you and your brother were doing."
Nedelcu also asked the judge if he could get his Utah driver's license back, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Kennedy said that would be impossible.
Nedelcu's U.S. visa has expired. Immigration officials will first have to decide whether Nedelcu can remain in the country. If he's allowed to stay, he can then apply for Utah driving privileges.
Silviu Nedelcu is facing a similar charge in federal court, but a court date hasn't been set.
Kennedy said the brothers' switch raised homeland security concerns.
Having an unauthorized person in a sensitive part of the airport where jets are being maintained and fueled makes that person "more susceptible to bribery" by enemies of the United States, Kennedy said.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)