Authorities arrested an Arizona man on Saturday for allegedly using the identity of an infant who died 35 years ago.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation Inspector General, 34-year-old Jeremiah Elton Ash attempted to get a duplicate social security card that belonged to a baby, Michael Anthony Lewis II, who was murdered in 1982, when he was a 10-month-old.
AZ Central reports that on July 12, Jim Gressley, special agent for the Social Security Administration, reported that after he traced the social security request back to the infant, an investigator traced the driver’s license that Ash gave and through facial recognition back to a Florida license in the name of Jeremiah Elton Ash.
Authorities then ran a criminal background check on Ash, and determined that not only did he have a warrant for his arrest in Michigan, but the offense was so serious that the state requested an extradition to bring him back to face charges. It’s still unclear what the warrant was for.
Officials also determined that in 2012, Ash used a Virginia birth certificate and a Florida driver’s license under the infant’s name to get an Arizona driver’s license at the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division. In 2014, he returned to get approved for a motorcycle license, while still using the infant’s name. For the past five years, Ash used the fake identification to get a social security card, land jobs, and get health care.
Police arrested Ash on July 19 at his home near Tempe. They found other identification cards inside the residence, along with a book on how to manufacturer identification. Even after authorities showed Ash the infant’s death certificate, he continued to claim he was Michael Lewis.
Ash faces charges of fraud, forgery, and identity theft. He’s scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday at the Maricopa County Superior Court. It’s still unclear whether he knew the infant or his family.
[Feature Photo: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office]