In 1996, prosecutors say a young man escaped a halfway house in Texas, went to a cemetery, picked the name of a person born close to his birth date, tracked down that person's birth certificate, and began a second life as Nathan Laskoski. The ruse worked spectacularly for two decades, until the aunt of the real Nathan Laskoski—who'd died at 2 months of age in 1972—began researching her family tree on Ancestry.com last year and noticed that her dead nephew appeared to be alive and well in Pennsylvania, reports CBS News. Jon Vincent, now 44, managed to get married and divorced; move between Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania; and get a nurse's aide license using Laskoski's identity, authorities say.
The AP reports that Vincent was arrested near Philadelphia and is now in jail facing charges of identity theft and Social Security fraud, which could result in fines of up to half a million dollars and several years behind bars. His public defender says he "deeply regrets the poor judgment he exercised" as a youth and stresses that the theft "has not resulted in any financial loss" to Laskoski's family. Vincent has "lived a quiet, hard-working life," he adds. The infant's mother recalls getting a call after her son's death from someone seeking information about him, including his Social Security number. She provided some of the information, but then questioned the caller, who hung up. (Former President Obama's roots have been traced to the first African-American slave.)