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Cheektowaga man lived under stolen identities for 20 years

A Cheektowaga man managed to live under a series of stolen identities for more than 20 years after escaping from a Colorado jail cell, federal authorities said Friday.

Paul Keener, 47, was charged with aggravated identity theft and using a passport secured by making a false statement. He faces a mandatory prison term of up to 12 years of convicted as charged, according to U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott S. Allen Jr. said Keener escaped from a jail in Colorado in the mid-1990s and paid $300 on the Craigslist website to get documents about a man who had been missing in Virginia since 1993. He began using a number of aliases, including Aaron Silverman, Paul Robison and Scott Walker. Since the mid-1990s, Keener allegedly used false identification documents to get U.S. passports and driver’s licenses.

He also crossed over into Canada, registered to vote in this country, applied for and received federal financial student aid and allegedly got a series of Social Security cards under false identities, Allen said. He was tracked to Western New York last month, Hochul said.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy ordered Keener to remain in custody following a detention hearing Friday.