Who Will You Discover? Ancestry.com Search Leads To Fugitive Living Under Name Of Deceased Baby

ancestry-logoJon Vincent, 44, turned over a new leaf and the result could be a long stint in jail.  In a modern twist to a classic criminal tactic, Vincent is accused to adopting the name of a deceased baby to assume a new identity while on the lam from a prison escape.  However, the name Nathan Laskoski came up on an ancestry search of the baby’s aunt.  That “leaf” led her — and ultimately  the police — to the Pennsylvania man.  For her, the company motto of “who will you discover” is a bit more of a surprise than that second cousin twice removed in Pittsburgh.

Nathan Laskoski died at two months old in Texas in December 1972 but his identity was grabbed by Vincent after he escaped from a halfway house in 1996.  Vincent had been convicted of indecency with a child.

Vincent followed the script line of a dozen movies in using the dead baby’s identity to acquire a social security number.  He then moved around under the assumed identity to Mississippi, Tennessee; and Pennsylvania.  Not only did he acquire a driver’s license under the assumed name but got married under the name.  He worked as a nurse’s aide with a license in the State of Pennsylvania.   It reads like the plot out of the movie “A History of Violence”:

The real Nathan’s aunt was shocked to get a “green leaf” on Ancestry.com and told Nathan’s mother.  The mother then went into the matter deeper to find the various documents under her dead son’s name and filed an identity theft complaint with the Social Security Administration.

The SSA’s Office of Inspector General then took the investigation forward.

Notably, his counsel, Felicia Sarner, appears to be conceding guilt on the assumed identify but insists that Vincent  “was a very young man when this matter first arose, and he deeply regrets the poor judgment he exercised back then.”

He could face up to five years in jail for social security fraud with added time for aggravated identity theft.


33 thoughts on “Who Will You Discover? Ancestry.com Search Leads To Fugitive Living Under Name Of Deceased Baby”

  1. Having worked @ Leavenworth Penitentiary, I saw the folly of “rehabilitation.” That is not to say criminals cannot rehabilitate. They can and do. But any type of rehabilitation, be it AODA, criminal, etc. is predicated on the person being HIGHLY motivated to change. So, if a person in prison is motivated, and shows it via their ACTIONS, then you provide them w/ the opportunity to better themselves. With many inmates, the AODA and criminal activity are intertwined. The odds of criminals “rehabilitating” themselves are low. Getting straight is tough. STAYING straight is exponentially tougher.

    1. About half never return after one stint in prison. Many years ago Ken Auletta was writing a book about the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation and he interviewed a municipal judge who told him, “once they get to be about 35, we generally don’t see them anymore”.

      1. dss – there are some statistical studies that show that most offenders age out of the system at about 35-40. However, for gang members they just become OGs and run the operations of the gang (assuming they are still alive).

      2. You do realize many “never return” to prison because they die early, violent deaths after being released? Darwinian “rehabilitation.”

        1. The annual intake of the prison systems in this country is north of 600,000. There are about 15,000 homicides every year, many of them of ordinary people, not hoodlums. I don’t think violent death is culling more than a single-digit share of released convicts.

          1. desperate, Do some research other than Ken Auletta. The recidivism rate of released US prisoners is annually in the mid 60% to mid 70% rate. The rate varies depending on if it is calculated for 1, 3, or 5 years after release. Violence does decrease w/ age. Although I worked w/ some of the hardest criminals in the country @ Leavenworth, I knew people who worked @ EL Reno. Leavenworth’s population was hardened bad asses, but older. EL Reno had young bad asses and they were MUCH more violent. The guys @ Leavenworth would slit your throat w/o thinking twice, but only if you caught them committing a crime. They knew how to do time and were violent only when necessary. I’m speaking in generalities, there were some older inmates who were still being violent just because they could. The EL Reno 20 somethings were filled w/ testosterone and would slit your throat just for fun.

            1. desperate, Do some research other than Ken Auletta. T

              I just quoted you data from the Uniform Crime Reports and the Bureau of Justice Statistics data on prison intake. The Bureau of Justice Statistics does not routinely collect certain metrics, such as the number of prisoners admitted without a previous history in prison. One I could locate was a 1991 study which indicated that 211,000 prisoners were admitted for the first time, out of 466,000 total new court commitments (‘new court commitments’ meaning they weren’t parole violators, escapees &c). I think that suggests that roughly 45% will not re-offend once their parole is up.

  2. Olly,

    I had nothing in the past. I have nothing now. I do not expect to have anything in the future. So, I don’t claim anything because I have nothing left to lose. Anyone who wants nothing is welcome to claim it …

    I will try to be available to “defend rights of those that have done no harm to society and especially those that cannot defend themselves”, and blow up the railroad tracks when they have been forced into a railroad car. But, I am not contracting to do so …

  3. “Instead of arguing about the (possible) rights of an infant who’s been dead for half a century, CHANGE THE SYSTEM!”


    If you’re not willing to the defend rights of those that have done no harm to society and especially those that cannot defend themselves, then I challenge you to give up all of what you claim is yours to anyone that wants it.

  4. The real problem stems from ex-cons who have served their time (after often being falsely imprisoned), and paid their debt to society, yet cannot – and will NEVER – be able to secure gainful employment or a decent life because of their past. To get a decent second start, ex-cons are forced to change their identity in order to change the rules of the game.

    Instead of arguing about the (possible) rights of an infant who’s been dead for half a century, CHANGE THE SYSTEM!

    1. I agree. America is an excessively punitive culture compared to Europe and other socially advanced countries. Some attribute that to our history of slavery – I don’t know. But prison sentences are extremely long and rehabilitation is impossible given that computers track everyone. I had an uncle who was unemployed and desparate and committed a robbery back in the early 1950s before I was born. He was sentenced to prison in Minn in an era when rehabilitation was a goal. He was allowed to take accounting classes by correspondence from a state college. After his six year sentence, he became a successful accountant and eventually a CPA. That couldn’t happen today. My parents have a neighbor in CA who was convicted of rape when he was 22, in a situation involving two drunk adults. He went to prison for several years, and is on the Sex Offerender Registry for life. He is now 38 and has never been able to get a job. What is the point in giving this guy a life sentence? He made a mistake and paid the penalty. Keeping him an unemployed pariah forever isn’t helping anyone. And yes, I care more about the living than someone who has been deceased for nearly 50 years.

      1. I agree. America is an excessively punitive culture compared to Europe and other socially advanced countries.

        There’s nothing preventing you from emigrating.

        1. Hahaha. “America, Love It or Leave It.” Yes, I remember the redneck bumper stickers that I saw as a kid. Welcome back!

        2. That’s not the American way. Americans have the constitutionally-protected right to petition their government for redress. Your theory smacks more of jingoistic, authoritarian flag-waving false patriotism more appropriate for some third-rate basket-case banana republic than for the shining-light beacon to the world which America purports to represent. Have some sense of shame for your misrepresentation of all that America stands for. This is meant for suzy.

          1. About 40% of those who are convicted of crimes are remanded to state and federal prisons. The others get ‘alternatives to incarceration’ or time already served in county jail. The mean sentence served for the minority remanded is 30 months. So, the mean time served overall is 1 year for a criminal conviction. For TIN, that’s ‘excessively punitive’. My suggestion is that you go somewhere where they confuse penology and social work, if that’s what you want.

            You’re only passable at self-parody, btw.

      2. After his six year sentence, he became a successful accountant and eventually a CPA. That couldn’t happen today.

        I know a tax preparer who served 14 years in various New York State prisons, released in 2011.

      3. “Rehabilitation” isn’t the goal because it’s a waste of time. Either age and discomfort persuade the convict he’d best do something else with his life or they don’t.

  5. People who comment on the blog steal names and use them to comment under. My real name is Ruby Tuesday but some business entity stole my name so I switched over to Jack and made my first name my last. My parents stole the name Tuesday from the calendar. I stole the name Jack from Jack Mehoff.

  6. Only 5 years? What about being on the lam from his prison escape? And TIN’s defense of identity theft is absurd. Using that “logic”, you have no rights to your life, liberty and property as long the system enables someone to take it.

    1. He’d been released from prison. He absconded from a halfway house. (No clue why. Seems a pointless thing to do). Not sure if there’s a statute of limitation attached to crimes of escape or abscondence. If there is, they cannot prosecute him for it at this point.

      By all appearances, the man’s led a rather truncated life. He was married only briefly, apparently has no children, and the one occupation remarked upon in the article was ‘nurse’s aide’.

    2. Think it through. You cannot own something if the government allows someone else to sell it without your consent. That defies the concept of ownership. The govt allows corporations to sell your personal information- name, age, etc. to anyone who has the money. Therefore, the obvious legal question is whether you legally own your personal identity. Someone can’t “steal” something you don’t own. I’m not saying that it’s a good thing; only that I see no legal basis for charging an individual with identity theft, while corporations can take my identity and sell it to illegal aliens, crooks, or whoever wants it. The law should be applied equally to all.

      1. “You cannot own something if the government allows someone else to sell it without your consent.”

        The fundamental question is whether you have a natural, unalienable right to you life, liberty and property. Our nation was founded and our government was established specifically to secure those rights. If those rights are infringed under the color of law then the law is unjust. Think it through. It is suicidal to accept the premise that if the government enables the infringement of rights to one entity then they should enable everyone to equally infringe the rights of everyone else. I don’t know what your belief is regarding natural rights, but I believe we NEVER lose OWNERSHIP of those rights no matter how they are infringed.

        1. “Inalienable rights” sounds great in theory, but if you can’t enforce a “right” then it doesn’t really exist.

          1. “but if you can’t enforce a “right” then it doesn’t really exist.”

            Where did you learn that philosophy!? Using your ahem, philosophy, ALL your rights are determined by whatever the superior force is. That’s the philosophy of tyrants and they are more than happy to teach their subjects to believe that. You have natural rights that exist merely because you exist. You aren’t guaranteed security in those rights, just ask the slaves. But even as slaves, they still retained the right to be free and receive equal treatment under the law.

  7. I can see the charge of social security fraud, because he used a S.S.N. that had not been assigned to him. But if I were his attorney, I would challenge the “identity theft” charge. The infant has been dead for 46 years. Does he really retain a proprietary interest in his name or identity? Then what about the billion dollar data brokerage industry that buys and sells your name, address, age, and other identifying information everyday? Google your own name and you will see that your personal identifying information is for sale by these companies, and there is nothing you can do about it, except purchase a monthly subscription from some other corporation to alert you when your identify has been used for a fraudulent purpose. Congress isn’t going to pass legislation to protect us from the sale of our identities because the data brokerage industry has Congress in their pocket. But some schlub who uses the name of a baby who died nearly half a century ago in order to get a job is the criminal. Right. But if nothing else, the apparently legal sale of personal information without the owner’s knowledge or permission raises an interesting legal question as to who “owns” one’s identity.

  8. No clue what he’d done to land in prison and then a halfway house or why he thought it worth his while to abscond. That said, if he hasn’t committed any predatory crimes in the last 20 years, there’s a measure of pathos in this story. (Apparently, he was married for only 11 months in 1998 and 1999 and the news accounts list no children, so at least there’s little in the way of knock-on effects to this arrest).

  9. Smart family, and great luck in finding employees to take the investigation to the next level.

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