11:55am UPDATE: Albuquerque City Councilor Ken Sanchez tells KOB-TV that he was once duped by a fast-talker who now lives in Las Cruces and whose story will be told in an hourlong segment on NBC's "Dateline" tonight.
Sanchez said he was a Bernalillo County commissioner in 1998 when he gave the man he knew as Mark Gomez — but who is known in Las Cruces as Fred Gomez or Fred Brito — a proclamation for his good works in the Albuquerque area, Eyewitness News 4 reported.
"I felt at the time that he was like an angel sent from heaven to help people in our community," Sanchez said of Gomez/Brito. "I think he's a clever con man that conned me and conned several other people."
Federico "Fred" Gomez de Maria a/k/a Fred Brito a/k/a Federiqkoe DiBritto III a/k/a Father Federico Brito Gomez de Esparza a/k/a many, many other names will be Las Cruces' most famous resident tonight as he appears in a segment on NBC's "Dateline" tonight to tell how he conned his way into a variety of jobs despite being a convicted felon, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported.
The 51-year-old California native was fired in March from his job as administrative director of the New Mexico Performing Arts Academy in Las Cruces after admitting he falsified his resume in order to get a job he said would have been closed to him had he admitted his criminal record, the Sun-News reported.
When he was hired by the academy last August, he failed to mention that he was a five-time felon, having spent 11 years in prison for a variety of crimes including embezzlement, grand theft and theft, according to the Sun-News.
Gomez (or Brito or ????) will be on "Dateline" tonight (7 p.m. on KOB-TV locally) to talk about his skills as a resume-padder and a serial shape-shifter in an effort to outrun his past, and he's even working on a book that he says will teach businesses how to spot a job-seeking phony, the Sun-News reported.
Gomez's past did catch up with him at least once before when he was arrested at the UCLA Medical School on April 21, 2005, where he had talked his way into a $100,000-a-year fund-raising job by faking his resume and writing his own letters of recommendation, according to an August 2005 Los Angeles Times article (abstract only; full article archived on LA Times Web site).
He was let go after two weeks in custody when police found no evidence of criminal activity during his time at UCLA, the Times reported.
Gomez told the Sun-News he hopes to have his book out by June and that it has already been optioned as a Hollywood movie and plans to start on a speaking tour to tell businesses how to spot people like himself.
"I'm going to be teaching them how to focus, how to spot these people like myself so that they don't infliltrate their own companies and hurt employees or wind up being hurt," Gomez told the Sun-News. "I'll be teaching them to spot a resume that is not quite accurate, because that's basically what my forte is."
Gomez's real job history includes posing as a psychiatrist in a Los Angeles courtroom to help get a friend out of jail; playing a Roman Catholic priest in Yuma, Ariz., and Phoenix performing weddings, baptisms and funerals — and even as a Norbertine priest in Albuquerque; working as a youth counselor for a foster care agency; serving as program director at a Los Angeles youth center; executive director for the National Kidney Foundation in Southern California; fund-raiser at UCLA Medical School; and, of course, working at the Las Cruces Performing Arts Academy.