A Pasco County man pretended to be another man for more than 20 years, even fooling his wife, Pasco County deputies said Thursday. Richard Hoagland assumed Terry Symanksy’s identity in 1992, embezzling over $1 million, until a Symansky relative discovered the identity theft using Ancestry.com
Hoagland, 63, hit rock bottom after two failed marriages and four children and just disappeared one day, according to his second wife.
Sheriff Chris Nocco said to reporters that “Linda states that Richard Hoagland had three businesses that were related to insurance. She states that he embezzled over $1 million.”
Investigators said Hoagland, originally from Indiana, ended up in Palm Beach and began living with a man whose son passed away in 1991. He found the son’s death certificate and assumed Terry Symanksy’s identity, according to authorities.
“He uses the death certificate to apply for a new birth certificate from Ohio; Ohio gives him the birth certificate,” Nocco said Thursday. “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.”
Years later, Hoagland settled in Zephyrhills, remarried and lived Symansky.
If was Symansky’s nephew who outed the fraud while doing research on Ancestry.com. He then found out his deceased “uncle” was now on Google and had just become a pilot.
“He looks up (the) real uncle and sees he dies in 1991 then scrolls down page and sees documentation he was remarried in Pasco County and has a pilot license,” Nocco said.
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 has been charged with identity theft, but the Sheriff’s Office said it has notified federal agencies, and more charges may be coming.
Investigators said Hoagland admitted to using a false identity for over 20 years. He said he ran from his old life because he didn’t want to go through another divorce.