A Greybull man is facing 20 years in prison and a fine of nearly $1 million for posing as a dead Idaho man for the last 50 years in a ruse that was uncovered only when he was unable to answer questions about himself.
Peter Jeremy Martin is accused of assuming the identity of James Delbert Libbey in 1970, who died in Idaho in 1964.
Martin is charged in U.S. District Court with making false statements, aggravated identity theft and making false statements in a passport application.
According to court documents, Martin applied for a passport in January 2021 under Libbey’s name. He previously was issued a passport under the same name in 2007.
But an investigation into Martin revealed that he had assumed the identity of Libbey, who was born in 1941 and died in 1964. It was also discovered that Martin had a driver’s license under Libbey’s name.
In November 2021, two Diplomatic Security Service special agents interviewed Martin at his home in Greybull. His wife, Heather Libbey, was present during the discussion.
Upon initial contact, Martin appeared at the door armed with a large revolver in a sling holster on his hip. He complained to the agents about the long delay in receiving his passport.
One agent told Martin that in order to complete his passport application, he needed to confirm the information on his application and answer some biographical questions. Martin said this was unusual, as he had received two other passports in the past.
Martin was presented a copy of his application, which he verified was an accurate copy. He was asked what his parents’ names were, but took some time answering. He also hesitated when giving his birthdate and could not tell the agents what high school he went to.
One of the agents observed Heather Libbey quietly attempting to coach her husband on the answers.
Martin again asked why the agent was questioning him and the agent responded that it was because his two previous passports and current application were issued under a dead man’s name.
Martin asked if he had to continue answering questions and again said he had already been issued two passports. He also asked what kind of trouble he was in and whether he should talk to an attorney.
The agent said if Martin lied on his passport application, then he would have committed fraud. Martin asked how long he could go to prison for, but the agent said he could not provide legal advice.
“Well, I think this interview is over,” Martin said. “I shouldn’t answer any other questions.”
The investigation revealed Martin was actually born in 1937 and had been convicted of and incarcerated for numerous crimes between 1956 and 1967, including theft, armed robbery, burglary, attempted murder and prison escape in Arkansas and Wyoming.
Martin was paroled from the Idaho State Penitentiary in 1967 but disappeared from public record around 1970. That same year, the Social Security Administration issued a new social security number for the deceased Libbey.