A Brazilian who worked as a flight attendant for United Airlines posed as a dead child from Atlanta (USA) for two decades with the aim of fraudulently staying in the United States.
According to federal prosecutors, Ricardo Cesar Guedes, 49, stole the identity of William Ericson Ladd, an Atlanta boy who died in a car accident in Washington state in 1979, to apply for a U.S. passport in 1998 and renew it six times through 2020.
Guedes, a native of Sao Paulo, then used the dead boy’s name when getting married and getting a mortgage in Houston, according to the federal complaint, which lists his occupation as a United Airlines flight attendant.
Investigators allegedly discovered Guedes’ real identity comparing the fingerprints you submitted for your Brazilian national identity card in the 1990s.
Guedes was arrested at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in September when he entered a secure area for crew members while using the identity of the dead child after “Various indicators of fraud” managed to mark his passport.
William Ericson Ladd’s mother, Debra Lynn Hays, confirmed to State Department investigators last July that her son died two decades ago, according to the complaint accusing Guedes of aggravated identity theft, false statements on a passport application and other charges.
Guedes reportedly made 40 trips for United Airlines in 2020 while using the Ladd name. The Brazilian citizen remains detained awaiting trial.
A United Airlines spokesperson confirmed Guedes’ previous employment, but said he was no longer working for the company, it reported. NBC News.
“United has a comprehensive verification process for new hires that meets federal legal requirements,” said the spokesman.
A lawyer for Guedes declined to comment to the same outlet about his client’s allegations.
The Diplomatic Security Service, the law enforcement arm of the State Department, investigates approximately 5,000 cases of passport fraud per year.
Guedes had no prior criminal record. When he was confronted by federal investigators in September, He identified himself as William Ericson Ladd before agents showed him a death certificate for the boy and a photo of his grave in Alabama..
Guedes then signed a fingerprint sheet with his real name, the Houston Chronicle reported. “I had a dream, and the dream is over”, Guedes reportedly told the officers who arrested him. “Now I have to face reality.”