That’s quite a story – a United Airlines flight attendant was arrested after working for 23 years using the stolen identity of someone he had never met, who died at a young age.
Brazilian becomes United flight attendant for 23 years
Ricardo Cesar Guedes is a Brazilian born in 1972 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. However, for the past 23 years he has worked as a United Airlines flight attendant under the name Eric Ladd. How could this happen?
- More than two decades ago, Guedes managed to convince the authorities to issue him an American passport in the name of William Ericson Ladd (which Guedes later shortened to Eric Ladd)
- The “real” Ladd was born in 1974 (two years after Guedes) in Atlanta, and tragically died in a car accident at the age of four.
- Sure enough, Guedes received a passport in Ladd’s name, and even renewed it several times, and also succeeded in obtaining a residence permit for his partner using his stolen identity.
- Guedes then started working as a flight attendant at United Airlines in the late 1990s using his stolen identity, where he worked until recently.
How did the flight attendant get arrested?
Guedes worked successfully at United Airlines for over two decades, so how did he finally get caught? Well, his identity started to unravel in 2020:
- In December 2020, Guedes attempted to renew his passport under his stolen identity, and the State Department noticed “various indicators of fraud,” so an investigation was launched.
- Ladd’s mother was approached in July 2021, and it was the first time she learned that someone was using the identity of her deceased son.
- Investigators were able to compare the fingerprints submitted by Guedes to Brazil with the fingerprints he submitted to the United States under Ladd’s identity, and they matched
- Guedes was eventually arrested at Houston Airport (IAH); federal agents would wait for it to pass through a checkpoint known to crew members (which is the entrance that eligible flight attendants use to enter the secure area of ââthe airport, without having to go through security )
The man now faces several charges, including:
- False identity theft of a US citizen
- Providing a false statement in a passport application
- Fraudulent entry into the secure area of ââan airport
United Airlines said Guedes is no longer employed by the airline and that United has “an extensive screening process for new employees that complies with federal legal requirements.” And indeed, it seems the government, rather than United Airlines, is to blame for this mistake.
At the end of the line
A Brazilian stole an American’s identity in the 1990s and used it to work as a flight attendant at United Airlines for 23 years. He was only caught while applying for a passport renewal in late 2020, when authorities noticed something was suspicious.
The man was finally recently arrested at the airport, and now faces charges, in addition of course to losing his job. What a storyâ¦
(Hats off to Paddle with your own Kanoo)