Brazilian ex-United Airlines flight attendant is charged after working and building a successful life for 23 years using the stolen identity of four-year-old Atlanta boy who died in 1979 car crash

Ricardo Cesar Guedes, 49, is facing criminal charges for allegedly stealing the identity of William Ericson Ladd, of Atlanta, who died just one month before his fifth birthday in a 1979 car crash in Washington State

A Brazilian national has been arrested for allegedly stealing the identity of a four-year-old Atlanta boy who died in a car crash in 1979 – and building a life in the US that included working as a United Airlines flight attendant for more than 20 years.

Ricardo Cesar Guedes, 49, is facing federal charges of providing a false statement in a passport application, falsely impersonating a US citizen and entering an airport secure area under false pretenses due to his job as a flight attendant, which allowed him to pass through security checkpoints at many American airports.

Federal prosecutors claim in a criminal complaint filed in the Southern District of Texas that Guedes stole the identity of William Ericson Ladd, of Atlanta, who died just one month before his fifth birthday in a 1979 car crash in Washington State.

Authorities say Guedes, who lives in Lake Houston, Texas, came to the US sometime in the mid-1990s and overstayed his tourist visa.

He began using a Social Security card in Ladd’s name 17 years after the boy died and applied for a passport in Ladd’s name in 1998, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Guedes apparently had no connection to the boy and officials did not reveal how he managed to get the dead boy’s Social Security number.

However, once he had the information, Guedes bought a Lake Houston home, got married, bought a BMW, took out a mortgage and started his career at United as an illegal immigrant, according to the Chronicle.

He is now being detained pending a trial, and a United Airlines spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that Guedes has been fired in the wake of the scandal.

DailyMail.com has reached out to his attorney for comment.

He is now facing federal charges of providing a false statement in a passport application, falsely impersonating a US citizen and entering an airport secure area under false pretenses due to his job as a flight attendant
Guedes allegedly bought this house in Lake Houston – and took out a mortgage for it – under Ladd’s name

William Ericson Ladd was born in 1974 to William Francis Ladd and Debra Lynn Ladd (nee Hays) in Atlanta. Speaking to federal prosecutors, Debra confirmed that her son had died and said she did not remember whether he had a Social Security number.

Guedes, meanwhile, was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1972, but assumed Ladd’s identity in the mid-1990s.

He renewed his passport six times since 1998 until December 2020 when the State Department flagged his application for ‘various fraud indicators’ after the fingerprints he had used for his application matched those Guedes submitted for his Brazilian national identity document in the 1990s.

Federal agents also obtained records from Brazilian law enforcement officials who advised them that Maria Auxiliadora Duarte Guedes was Ricardo’s mother.

When they asked Maria about her son, she said she did not know anyone by the name of Eric Ladd, but admitted her son lived in the United States.

Photos posted on ‘Eric Ladd’s’ social media also showed him with Maria Guedes, the Chronicle reported, and traveling to other countries as a flight attendant with a badge showing he spoke Portuguese.

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SOURCE: Daily Mail