She looked like a typical undergraduate student, with student loans, boyfriends, and a job. But according to prosecutors, it was also a woman in her 40s who had used the information on her separated daughter’s social security card to get a driver’s license, enroll in a university and obtain financial assistance.
For about two years, Laura Oglesby, now 48, pretended to be in her twenties and used her daughter’s name, said Chief Jamie Perkins of the Mountain View Police Department in Missouri.
“Everyone believed in it,” Perkins said. “She even had boyfriends who thought she was that age: 22.”
On Monday, Oglesby pleaded guilty to one count of intentionally providing false information to the Social Security Administration, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western Missouri District.
Oglesby could face up to five years in federal prison without parole. A sentencing date has not been set. Under his plea agreement, Oglesby is also required to pay $ 17,521 in restitution to Southwest Baptist University in Missouri and his daughter Lauren Ashleigh Hays.
In total, Oglesby received $ 9,400 in federal student loans, $ 5,920 in Pell scholarships, $ 337 for books purchased from the university bookstore and $ 1,863 in finance charges.
Social Security fraud and identity theft are crimes that can be “a very, very common problem,” according to Nikos Passas, professor of criminology and criminal justice at Northeastern University in Boston. From April 1 to September 30, there were more than 270,000 allegations of Social Security fraud, of which more than 167,000 were classified as impostor schemes, according to a federal report.
In some cases, parents have illegally applied for loans using their child’s name without the child’s knowledge.
Pleading guilty, Oglesby admitted that she fraudulently applied for a Social Security card in January 2016 and then used it to apply for a Missouri driver’s license. She also admitted that in 2017, she used Social Security information to enroll in Southwest Baptist University and get financial aid.
Oglesby and his lawyer did not immediately respond to calls Wednesday asking for comment.
His story came to light in August 2018, after the Mountain View Police Department was contacted by authorities in Arkansas. They were looking for Oglesby, who they said stole Hays’ identity in that state in 2017 to commit financial fraud and embezzle more than $ 25,000. Arkansas officials told Mountain View Police they believe Oglesby was living under a false identity in Mountain View, Missouri, a town about 40 miles north of the Missouri-Arkansas border. .
Mountain View Police investigated and learned that Oglesby lived and worked there at a city library, Perkins said.
“She was actually employed here, which was kind of odd,” Perkins said. “And that’s how we found out who she was.”
Police then arrested her and she initially denied that she was Laura Oglesby, Perkins said, but once they showed her proof that they knew who she was, she admitted it.
“She was running just because she was in a domestic violence relationship, and she had been running for years,” Perkins told police. “We don’t know her life story outside of what she told us, but we do know what happened here.”
Mountain View Police then arrested Oglesby on Arkansas arrest warrants, Perkins said. His Missouri case included allegations of federal crimes in both states. “She had lived this life for a few years and just ruined her daughter’s credit,” Perkins said.
Hays did not respond to calls Wednesday seeking comment.
In a statement Tuesday evening, Southwest Baptist University said it had “fully cooperated with the investigation.”
“We were saddened to learn of the situation,” the university said. “Our prayers are with everyone involved.”