PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania man who assumed the identity of a baby who died in Texas in 1972 has been arrested on charges of Social Security fraud and aggravated identity theft after the baby’s aunt discovered the ruse on Ancestry.com.
Jon Vincent, 44, was arrested in Lansdale, near Philadelphia, on Monday, but had also lived near Pittsburgh and York, Pennsylvania, since 2003 – after first obtaining a Social Security card in the name Nathan Laskoski in 1996, federal prosecutors said. Vincent remained jailed Wednesday, when a federal magistrate ordered him to appear for arraignment May 2.
The real Nathan Laskoski died in December 1972, two months after he was born near Dallas. Vincent stole the dead child’s identity after escaping from a Texas halfway house in March 1996, and used the dead baby’s identity to start another life, prosecutors said. The Texas conviction was for indecency with a child, though the precise sentence Vincent was serving wasn’t immediately clear, said Michele Mucellin, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia.
Vincent also lived in Mississippi and Tennessee under his assumed name, holding jobs, getting drivers’ licenses and even getting married and divorced as Laskoski before the scheme unraveled late last year, according to online court records.
That’s when Laskoski’s aunt did a search on Ancestry.com, a genealogy website.
In researching her family tree, Nathan Laskoski’s name came up as a “green” leaf on the website, which led to public records suggesting he was alive. The aunt told Laskoski’s mother, who did more research and learned that someone had obtained a Social Security card under her son’s name in Texas, as well as finding public marriage and divorce records, Laskoski’s mother filed an identity theft complaint with the Social Security Administration.