Former United flight attendant accused of stealing identity of deceased child
A Brazilian is accused of stealing the identity of a deceased American child to obtain a US passport and become a flight attendant for United Airlines, federal investigators have said.
The man, Ricardo Cesar Guedes, 49, falsely assumed the identity of William Ericson Ladd, an Atlanta boy who died in a car crash in Washington state in August 1979 when he was 4 years old , according to a criminal complaint.
While using the boy’s name, Guedes obtained a US passport, got married and took out a mortgage, according to the complaint, which says he indicated his profession as a flight attendant for United Airlines.
A spokesperson for the airline confirmed that Guedes had worked for her, but said he “is no longer employed at United Airlines”.
âUnited has an extensive screening process for new hires that complies with federal legal requirements,â the spokesperson said.
A lawyer for Guedes declined to comment on Tuesday.
Guedes was born in August 1972 in SÃ£o Paulo and started using the boy’s name in 1998 when he first applied for a US passport, according to the complaint.
He renewed his passport several times from 1998 to 2020 using false information, according to the complaint. In December 2020, the State Department flagged his candidacy for “various indicators of fraud,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Officers said they saw Guedes “using the victim’s identity” to go through the crew member checkpoint at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. He was arrested at the airport in September, according to the complaint.
The boy’s mother confirmed the dates of her son’s birth and death and said she did not recognize the social security number used by Guedes, according to the complaint. The complaint says the social security number was issued 17 years after the boy’s death.
Guedes has been charged in an indictment with making false statements in a passport application, impersonating a US citizen and entering under false pretenses into a secure area of ââan airport . A pre-trial conference is scheduled for April.