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Unbelievable story of man who ended up arrested and sectioned after thief successfully stole his identity and lived his life
Featured Image Credit: U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Iowa / KGAN

Unbelievable story of man who ended up arrested and sectioned after thief successfully stole his identity and lived his life

How could this happen for 35 years?

In one of the most bizarre cases in fraud ever, one man was arrested and sent to a mental hospital after trying to get his identity back in a 35-year ordeal.

You read that right.

William Woods ended up homeless, hopeless, and unable to open a bank account all thanks to Matthew Keirans, a former University of Iowa Hospital employee, who stole his identity in 1988, and wouldn’t be caught for decades.

The 58-year-old pleaded guilty on Monday April 1 and was convicted of one count of false statement to a National Credit Union Administration insured institution, which brings a hefty sentence of up to 30 years, and one count of aggravated identity theft - a two-year sentence.

Having worked at the hospital from 2013 to July 20, 2023, when he would be fired after his secret identity was revealed, Keirans was able to go undetected for so long due to his willingness to maintain his lifestyle - which included a wife and child, both who took the name Woods.

Keirans committed several counts of fraud in his 35-year long spree.
getty stock images

How did Keirans and Woods meet?

Well, Keirans once worked with Woods at a hot dog cart in Albuquerque, and in 1990, he would obtain a fraudulent Colorado identification card with Woods’ name and birthday on it so that he could use it to get a job at a restaurant and to open a bank account.

What did Keirans do with Woods' identity?

He then used Woods’ name to buy a car, but both checks bounced.

Driving this technically stolen car to Idaho, where he would abandon it, Keirans would then withdraw all of his money from his account and moved to a different state to start a new life.

Then six years after stealing Woods’ name, he got married in 1994 and had a child, whose last name is Woods.

Keirans would then go on to commit several fraudulent crimes, such as acquiring a copy of Woods’ birth certificate using information, he found about Woods’ family on, buying cars, taking out loans and getting a job at the Wisconsin hospital, making more than $700,000 in his 10 years working for them.

What happened to Woods?

But the real William Woods wouldn’t go down without a fight and in 2019, he was homeless and tried to clear his credit at the bank as ‘someone’ had been using his name and wracked up debt.

Unfortunately, even though he was able to provide the corrected identification, he couldn’t answer the security questions, which led to Keirans being called.

Keirans stole Woods' whole life.
U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Iowa

The fraud squad then told the bank that nobody in California should have access to the accounts and the LAPD was called.

Keirans then faxed the officers a copy of Woods’ Social Security card and birth certificate, and a Wisconsin driver’s license he had under Woods’ name.

The real Woods was swiftly arrested and charged with identity theft and false impersonation, under a misspelled version of Keirans name: Matthew Kierans.

The poor man was then thrown in a mental hospital in 2020, after refusing to back down that he was the real Woods and a Judge decided that he wasn’t mentally competent to stand trial.

The next year, Woods would plead no contest to the identity theft charges and was sentenced to two years imprisonment, along with $400 in fines and to cease using the name William Woods.

Thankfully, Woods wasn’t going to stop.

In 2023, he was finally sentenced.
getty stock images

How did Keirans get caught?

After finding out where Keirans was working in January 2023, he filed a complaint with the University of Iowa Hospitals’ security department, who referred it to the University of Iowa Police Department.

There, Detective Ian Mallory opened an investigation and found Woods’ biological father on his birth certificate and tested the father’s DNA against Woods’ DNA.

Of course, it was a match.

So, on July 17, 2023, Mallory interviewed Keirans and presented him with the damning DNA evidence which would end a 35-year crime.

Keirans pleaded guilty August 14 and was charged with a false use of birth certificate and was sentenced to 20 days in Johnson County Jail, with credit for time already served.

He was then indicted December 12, on five counts of false statement to a National Credit Union Administration insured institution and two counts of aggravated identity theft, after a complaint was filed against him on August 29.

He pleaded guilty to one count of each charge, and the other counts were dropped against him.

Nobody knows how Woods’ is doing right now, but we hope he’s doing much better!

Crazy, right?

Topics: Crime, US News, Weird, Money, True crime