Fishers man walks out on family, takes on dead person’s identity for more than 20 years

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Richard Hoagland

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FISHERS, Ind. – A central Indiana man is at the center of an identity theft case that spanned more than 20 years. Richard Hoagland is accused of using a dead man’s name to create another life for himself in Florida.

Hoagland walked out on his wife and four kids in Fishers in 1992, according to our partners at the Indy Star. Police say his now ex-wife told them Hoagland was facing a criminal investigation and eventually called her saying he was on the run.

“Linda states that Richard Hoagland had three businesses that were related to insurance,” Sheriff Chris Nocco said. “She states that he embezzled over $1 million.”

Investigators said Hoagland ended up in Palm Beach and began living with a man whose son was deceased. He found his death certificate and assumed Terry Symanksy’s identity, according to authorities. Symansky died in August 1991.

“He uses the death certificate to apply for a new birth certificate from Ohio; Ohio gives him the birth certificate,” Nocco said. “He uses that birth certificate to apply by mail for a driver’s license in Alabama; he then gets that Alabama driver’s license and uses it to apply for a Florida driver’s license.”

Hoagland remarried using the Symanski name and had a son. The family lived in Zephyrhills, Florida. He purchased several properties near his home and acted as a landlord.

Hoagland was found out because a nephew of Symansky was doing research on Ancestry.com. He then found more information about his “uncle” on Google — including that he was now a pilot.

The family called police, who then contacted the Pasco Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives showed up at Hoagland’s home Wednesday, and that’s when his wife learned everything.

“For 20 years, she’s been lied to, so now she doesn’t know what she has to do as far as whether her marriage is even legal — what’s going to happen to all the properties they own, their bank accounts. The son has the last name Symansky,” Det. Anthony Cardillo said.

Hoagland faces an identity theft charge in Florida. The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office said the case against Hoagland from the 90’s was dismissed.

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