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'World-class imposter' fired from Fargo job after falsifying resume, name

FARGO—A man Dateline NBC called "a world-class imposter" landed a job in Fargo.

But it only lasted a few weeks.

Fred Brito, known in many parts of the country for using a fake resume and getting hired for a variety of jobs, was fired last week from a company managing hotel properties.

Sarah Koustrup, executive vice president for a hospitality services company in Fargo that had hired him, quickly uncovered Brito's scam.

Brito was in a training program when they discovered he had given the company a falsified resume, Koustrup said.

He also used a false name—Luca Gomez DeMaria.

It's one of many jobs the he has been hired for over the years—including a priest at UCLA in Los Angeles, a city manager, a doctor, a manager of an IHOP restaurant in Kansas City, Kan., an area manager for Dairy Queen in the Texas Panhandle and a fundraiser for the Red Cross in Pasadena, Calif., news outlets say.

"It's strange that he made it all the way to Fargo," Koustrup said.

The company executive wanted to emphasize that her firm has a stringent hiring and resume checking system.

"We have a system of checks and balances and we caught it fast," she said. "We're very careful on who we hire."

Brito's past criminal record includes embezzling funds from a business he worked at and another for renting a car and never returning it, said former blogger David Markland of Hollywood, Calif., who has been tracking him since the 2000s.

Markland, currently an event producer in Los Angeles, said he started tracking him after Brito had been discovered in the Red Cross job in Pasadena. After about six months he started wondering what happened to Brito.

While working for Blogging LA, he found out Brito had conned himself into another job.

And then there were more. Many more. That's why many media outlets over the years have labeled him as a fake. In 2007, Dateline NBC produced a feature on Brito and called the episode "The ultimate con artist," calling him a "world-class imposter." Dr. Phil, the same year, also called him out for serving as a priest with a couple he falsely married on the show confronting him. He also called him "the Ultimate Con Man."

Last year, the man who Markland said is in his late 50s or early 60s, was hired as general manager of the Downtown Athletic Club in Eugene, Ore., until he was exposed by the Eugene Weekly newspaper. While there, the newspaper reported he was said to have created such a hostile workplace that several tenured staff left while he was their boss.

"That's the problem with this," Markland said. "He is getting people fired and turning lives upside down. There's also the sense of safety when someone like this comes in."

That's on top of the issue that he uses fake names, references and resumes to get hired.

Markland said Brito's modus operandi when a business might ask for references is to provide different phone numbers that are his. He then uses a fake voice when the number is called.

What's also happened is that Brito usually gets into an argument with a co-worker and they end up using Google to track him and find out what his real story is.

Then, said Markland, his next step when the employer finds out is to "simply skip town."

He often retreats back to his home base in Dallas, Texas, Markland said.

Another question Markland raises is why police don't become more involved. He said it doesn't happen often but if it does he has heard in media reports that Brito gives them the sob story about not being able to find a job as an ex-con, blames it all on a human resources department for not checking into him further or says he's researching and writing a book about how to con a person's way into a job.

So where has Brito gone now?

Brito didn't have a phone number he left with the Fargo company. But Markland said he's probably looking for another job—somewhere.

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