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Man Abandons Family To Start A New One With A Dead Man’s Name

Richard Hoagland, a 63-year-old man from Indiana, USA, who vanished from Indiana 25 years ago and was declared dead in 2003, has been arrested for stealing the identity of a dead man, Washington Post reports.

According to the report, Hoagland, who was arrested on a charge of fraudulent use of personal identification, impersonated Terry Jude Symansky to become a husband and father elsewhere for more than two decades.

As Terry Symansky, he married Mary Hossler Hickman in 1995 and lived in Zephyrhills. He also obtained a private pilot’s license with the same name from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Speaking at a news conference last Thursday, Chris Nocco, from the Pasco County Sheriff’s office, said that he was unhappy that Hoagland abandoned four children in Indiana

“This is a selfish coward. This is a person who has lived his life destroying others,” the sheriff said, adding that Hoagland’s Zephyrhills family, who knew nothing of his real identity, was shocked.

According to the sheriff, Mary Hickman found Hoagland’s real identification documents in a briefcase in the attic. She also found the deed to the Louisiana property her husband bought in 2015 and a key to a storage unit.

While Hoagland told the sheriff’s office that he left Indiana to get away from his second wife in Indiana, the wife insisted that he told her he had to disappear because he had stolen millions and was wanted by the FBI. She was thus shocked when he was arrested.

Texas Tech University law professor Gerry Beyer, who studies identity theft, said that most identity thieves steal names to commit new crimes and he was surprised at this case of identity theft.

He said, “It’s beyond fascinating and so different than your normal identity theft cases.”

Hoagland’s fraudulence was discovered by the nephew of the real Terry Symansky, who was working on a family project and found his uncle on Ancestry.com. The nephew was shocked to find a marriage license associated with his name, because he knew his uncle died in 1991.

The family delayed contacting authorities for three years out of fear that the imposter might come after them, but decided to come forward in April this year.

Photo credit: Pasco County Sheriff’s Offic

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“Man Abandons Family To Start A New One With A Dead Man’s Name”

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