A former convict was arrested Monday for allegedly stealing the identity of a dead baby, after the child’s aunt researched her family tree on the website Ancestry.com.
Prosecutors say Jon Vincent, a 44-year-old who lives in Pennsylvania, escaped from a Texas halfway house in 1996 and traveled to a cemetery to find a tombstone showing someone born around the same time as him, according to CBS3 Philly.
Authorities accuse Vincent of choosing Nathan Laskoski, a baby who passed away in 1972 after only 2 months. The decedent’s mother reportedly remembers a man calling her and asking questions about her deceased son at the time, including his Social Security Number. After the correspondence, the mother said she called the police, but the situation never received any more investigative attention, reports WTOL 11.
Records obtained by law enforcement show that Vincent acquired a Social Security card under Laskoski’s name, and ended up living in several states across the country, including Mississippi, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. Files under the Social Security card apparently reveal Vincent has earned income every year since 1996, including his most recent stint as a nurse’s aide, according to WTOL 11. Vincent’s original conviction in Texas was for indecency with a child.
Record also show he was issued a driver’s license under Laskoski’s name, and was even able to officially, albeit fraudulently, marry and divorce.
Vincent and his alleged scheme was reportedly uncovered after the dead child’s aunt decided to figure out her lineage by visiting Ancestry.com, a genealogy service and database.
The aunt said Laskoski’s name appeared on the website with a “green” leaf icon, meaning public records indicated he was alive, reports WTOL11. After the aunt passed along the information, Laskoski’s mother filed an identity theft complaint with the Social Security Administration, saying she discovered records of marriage and divorce.
“According to the information, the defendant has been living using the deceased victim’s stolen identity since mid-1996,” reads an official press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Vincent was arrested Monday on charges of aggravated identity theft, which carries a sentence of two years imprisonment, and Social Security fraud, which has a federally mandated sentence of five years. If convicted, he could face a fine of up to $500,000, and at least seven years in prison since the sentencing guidelines for aggravated identity theft orders charges to be served consecutively and not concurrently for the separate offenses.
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