According to Business Insider and a complaint filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston, Ricardo Guedes “stole the identity of a dead American child and used the false name to work for United Airlines for 23 years.”

Sadly, William Ericson Ladd died in a Washington state car crash, a month before his fifth birthday, in 1979.

Investigators claim Ricardo Guedes, who was born in 1972 in São Paulo, stole Ladd’s identity in 1998 and successfully applied for a US passport. Guedes was able to renew his passport six times but in December 2020, the State Department flagged the application for “various fraud indicators.”

This is a sad situation, and I can’t imagine the anguish of the parents of the deceased child, to know somebody has been using their son’s identity.

I really hope that if convicted, the U.S. throws the book at him and that companies do more thorough background checks. But kudos to the employee at the State Department for finally catching this criminal.

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