A Brazilian flight attendant has been accused of stealing a dead boy’s identity and using it for more than 20 years.

Ricardo Cesar Guedes, 49, who works as a flight attendant for United Airlines, has been accused of stealing the identity of William Ericson Ladd, an Atlanta boy who died in a car crash in Washington in 1979. He allegedly used it to apply for a passport in 1998, and has renewed the document six times since then. In addition, he has also been accused of using Ladd’s identity while getting married and taking out a mortgage in Houston. There is no record of him applying for US citizenship or naturalisation using the false identity.

Investigators uncovered Mr Guedes’ real identity by comparing fingerprints he submitted for his Brazilian national identity document in the 1990s, and he was arrested at Houston Airport in September after entering a secure area for crew members.

William Ladd’s mother Debra Lynn Hays confirmed to investigators last July that her son died in 1979, and she did not recognise the social security number issued to Mr Guedes in her son’s name some 17 years after his death.

Mr Guedes has been charged with aggravated identity theft, making false statements on a passport application, and other counts. He allegedly worked on 40 flights for United Airlines in 2020 while using Ladd’s name, and remains detained pending trial.

A United Airlines spokesperson confirmed his prior employment, but added that he was no longer employed by the company.

Mr Guedes had no prior criminal record, and upon being presented with evidence of his fraud, reportedly told the arresting agents, “I had a dream, and the dream is over. Now I have to face reality.”

Image: Eric Ladd/Twitter

This article first appeared on OverSixty.