Feds: Woman Stole Dead Person's Identity, Became Cruise Ship Captain for 20 Years

Stealing someone's identity to become a dinner cruise ship captain might be easier than actually going through the training — but the latter, at least, doesn't end with a ten-year prison sentence hanging over your head.

Yesterday, 52-year-old Cynthia Lyerla was arrested for using the stolen identity of a dead woman for more than 20 years in order to obtain a mariner's license and Transportation Security Administration documentation — and also to get paid to live in vacationers' paradise.

According to the indictment, Lyerla, who is from League City, stole the identity of a woman named Christina White, who died in 1965. Investigators confirmed Lyerla's real identity after she provided fingerprints to apply for a new mariner license — they matched up with prints she gave police back in 1988, when they were investigating her husband's murder in California. (Another person was convicted for that crime.)

Lyerla was indicted on charges of aggravated identity theft, false statements in a passport application, unlawful use and possession of a mariner license, and false personation of a transportation worker. If convicted, she faces up to ten years in federal prison.

Might've just been cheaper to take a vacation.


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