Living a lie: Dead man’s identity stolen 22 years ago

PCSO investigators say Richard Hoagland, age 63, had been using the name of Terry J. Symansky who drowned in 1991 in Dania, Fla.

PASCO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) — A Florida man stole the identity of a dead man back in 1994 and since then has gotten married, had a child, obtained a pilot’s license and obtained mortgages in the dead man’s name, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said on Thursday.

Richard Hoagland, 63

PCSO investigators say Richard Hoagland, age 63, had been using the name of Terry J. Symansky who drowned in 1991 in Dania, Fla.

The assumed identity was discovered after Terry Symansky’s nephew started an family search. The nephew discovered a notice of someone with the same name in Pasco County.

“He looks up his real uncle Terry Symansky and realizes that he died in 1991, which the family knew. He then starts scrolling down the page and see more details that Terry Symanksy was remarried in 1995. He owns property in Pasco County, Florida,” said Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco.

The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation and found Hoagland had been using Symansky’s name.

Terry Symansky
Terry Symansky

Detectives say, Hoagland briefly moved in several years ago, with Symansky’s father,  found Terry Symansky’s death certificate and that’s when he began assuming the deceased man’s identity.

Detectives say Hoagland has been using Symansky’s name since 1994. He allegedly obtained a pilot’s license, got married and had children. He also obtained several mortgages under the stolen identity.

“He is a selfish coward, who lived his life destroying others,”  Sheriff Nocco sa identitityid during a news conference on Thursday.

Hoagland is charged with fraudulent  use of personal information. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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