Joseph Bonanno of Canton, Ohio, pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Northern Ohio to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, two counts of making a false statement and one count of making a false statement in an application for a U.S. passport.
He had been indicted in April on charges of assuming the identity of Timothy W. Hyde, who was born Feb. 3, 1976, but died shortly after birth, according to published reports.
Mr. Bonanno maintained the guise from 1992 until late last year.
Shortly after Christmas, the deception began to unravel. After being summoned to Mr. Bonanno's home for a domestic dispute, police arrested him and took his fingerprints.
When those prints were checked against a national database, police discovered that Timothy W. Hyde was actually Joseph Bonanno, wanted on larceny charges in Massachusetts going back to 1989.
While masquerading as Timothy Hyde, Mr. Bonanno had a flourishing career as a financial adviser.
In 2001, he founded a financial advisory firm, Hyde Financial Inc. in Belden Village, Ohio, which is now known as Helios Investments Inc. The firm manages $63 million in client assets, according to SEC filings.
When contacted, no one at Helios Investments had any comment on the case.
Most recently, Mr. Bonanno was affiliated with Cadaret Grant & Co. Inc. of Syracuse, N.Y.
Art Grant, the firm's CEO, said Mr. Bonanno was a productive broker who did a good job managing his clients' money.
‽We did our normal background checks,” Mr. Grant confirmed.
‽He had a family, and was well-established” in Akron, Mr. Grant said. ‽We don't see anything wrong with the brokerage accounts.”.
Mr. Bonanno was affiliated with Cadaret Grant from January 2007 until the end of last year and has not been affiliated with a broker-dealer since that time.
The law office of Ian N. Friedman of Cleveland, the firm representing Mr. Bonanno, was not immediately available for comment.
Mr. Bonanno is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 22, according to assistant U.S. attorney Bridget Brennan.
‽There is a mandatory term of two years in connection with the aggravated identity theft count,” she said. ‽He could face additional time for the other counts.”