HOUSTON — A Brazilian national working as a flight attendant for United Airlines posed as a dead Atlanta boy for two decades, according to federal prosecutors.
Ricardo Cesar Guedes, 49, is accused of stealing the identity of William Ericson Ladd to apply for a US passport in 1998 and renew it six times through 2020. The real Ladd was an Atlanta boy who died in a Washington state car crash in 1979, according to a federal complaint.
Guedes is a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil. According to the federal complaint, he used the dead boy’s name while getting married as well as taking out a mortgage in Houston. He lists his occupation as a flight attendant for United Airlines on official documents, the New York Post reported.
According to the federal government, there is no record of him applying or receiving US citizenship through naturalization, the criminal complaint states.
Federal investigators reportedly discovered Guedes’ true identity by comparing fingerprints he submitted for his Brazilian national identity document in the 1990s.
While using the dead boy’s identity, “various fraud indicators” got his passport flagged, according to the complaint, the Post reported.
Consequently, Guedes was arrested at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in September when he entered a secure crew member area.
Guedes remains in custody pending trial, the Houston Chronicle reported.
A United Airlines spokesperson confirmed Guedes’ prior employment, but said he was no longer working for the company, NBC News reported.
“United has a thorough verification process for new employees that complies with federal legal requirements,” the spokesperson said.