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Press Release

Man Who Used Fake Identity for 19 Years Pleads Guilty to Making a False Statement on Passport Application

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

CINCINNATI – Fred Aundraus Gaston III, 44, of Cincinnati, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to a crime related to using a fake identity since 1999.

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Ben Sides, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service, Chicago Field Office announced the plea entered into before U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black.

According to the Statement of Facts, beginning in 1999, Gaston created the identity and assumed the alias “Brandon Jordan Thomas.” Specifically, on May 18, 1999, he applied for a delayed birth certificate in Illinois using the made-up name. In June of that year, the state of Illinois issued the delayed birth certificate.

The next month, Gaston applied for a Social Security card using the name “Brandon Jordan Thomas” and was issued a new Social Security number. He obtained replacement Social Security cards in the fake name in August 1999, April 2007, November 2009 and June 2015.

Gaston also obtained an Ohio driver’s license under the alias and compiled a credit history in that name as well.

In February 2015, Gaston applied for a U.S. Passport at the post office in Milford, Ohio under the false identity and his own photograph. The application was ultimately denied because Gaston failed to respond to a follow-up request from the State Department to submit additional documentation to support the application.

In August 2017, when federal agents visited Gaston’s home, he identified himself as “Shawn Carter.” He was wearing a Rich Snob Entertainment t-shirt, the same company identified as the place of employment on both the “Brandon Jordan Thomas” passport application and a passport application that Gaston submitted under his true identity on a different date.

Gaston pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement in a passport application. The parties involved in this case have recommended a sentence of one year of probation, and Judge Black will consider that recommendation at a future sentencing hearing. The defendant also agrees to forfeit the Ohio driver’s license, State of Illinois Delayed Record of Birth and Social Security card all in the name of “Brandon Jordan Thomas.”

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the State Department and Special Assistant United States Attorney Timothy Landry, who is representing the United States in this case.

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Updated March 15, 2018