PORTLAND, Ore. – A Bulgarian man who lived for 14 years as an American citizen is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in federal court for stealing the identity of an Ohio boy who was kidnapped and killed in 1982 at age 3.
Prosecutors said Doitchin Krastev has agreed to meet with and apologize to the child's family members who have been rattled by agonizing memories and nagging questions.
Why did he want a new identity? How did he choose Jason Robert Evers? Where did he get the boy's personal information? And what was his life like while he lived as Jason never was able?
In a deal with the government, Krastev pleaded guilty in November to passport fraud and aggravated identity theft. Prosecutors are recommending the minimum sentence of two years and one day in custody, followed by three years of probation.
Krastev, who is about 37 years old, was born to a prominent Bulgarian couple in the former Soviet Union and came to the United States to get an education. He stayed for two years with Michael Horowitz, a former Reagan administration lawyer who befriended Krastev's parents.
Krastev graduated from a prominent Washington high school before dropping out of college, disappearing and eluding attempts by Horowitz and a private investigator to track him down.
Meanwhile, Krastev built a new life, authorities say. In 1996, he got a Social Security number using Evers' birth certificate. In 2002, he got a U.S. passport. He bought property in Oregon and Idaho. He even passed a criminal background check and worked as a sworn investigator for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
It all came apart last year, when a routine check of passport records against death certificates raised a red flag for the U.S. State Department's Diplomatic Security Service. Authorities arrested the man who called himself Jason Evers, but he refused to reveal his given name.
It wasn't until an old acquaintance recognized his picture in online newspaper articles that authorities discovered his true identity.
Krastev was arrested last May in Idaho and had owned a home in Caldwell, Idaho.
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