A woman using Ancestry.com to piece together her family's history last year came across one of the company's leaf icons on the name of her nephew, Nathan Laskoski, Philly.com reported.
The system told the woman that Laskoski had gotten married and had moved about the country, settling in Lansdale, outside Philadelphia.
But the Nathan Laskoski who was the woman's nephew had died in 1972 when he was 2 months old, KYW reported.
Police said Jon Vincent, 44, escaped from a halfway house in 1996.
Prosecutors said Vincent went to a cemetery and found the grave of someone who was born close to his birthdate. He found Laskoski's birth certificate to get a Social Security number, KYW reported.
He lived as Nathan Laskoski, getting jobs and bank accounts and getting married and divorced.
Vincent has been charged with identity theft and Social Security fraud. If he is convicted, Vincent faces up to a $500,000 fine and jail time, KYW reported.