So there’s this show called Younger, right? It’s about this 40-year-old newly divorced woman named Liza Miller who, having been out of the workforce for a long time to raise her now-college-aged daughter, has to (“has to”) pretend to be a 26-year-old to get a job at a book publishing company. Not only does she pull this off, but along the way she also makes new friends, climbs up the corporate ladder, and even falls in love with two guys — one a younger tattoo artist, one the middle-aged head of her company — who believe she is in her 20s. For six whole seasons she keeps her real age a secret from the majority of her professional circle, a central conceit that is pretty absurd, even given 46-year-old actress Sutton Foster’s youthful glow and the power of professional makeup. But in the end — and this is a SPOILER — despite having lied and possibly falsified documents to get her job in the first place, she somehow still manages to get promoted to editor-in-chief of her company and she maybe gets back together with the young hot tattoo artist, who actually found out her real age early on and never stopped loving her.
I say all this as set-up so that you understand the following sentence: The story of this woman who stole her daughter’s identity to lead a new life as a college student half her real age and pleaded guilty on Monday to Social Security fraud is like Younger but in real life.
In 2018, investigators arrested Laura Oglesby, who was 45 at the time, for stealing and assuming the identity of her estranged 24-year-old daughter named Lauren Ashleigh Hays for at least two years. Oglesby used her daughter’s birth certificate to obtain a new social security card, which she then used to obtain a driver’s license, which she then used to enroll in college at South Baptist University in Mountain View, Missouri, and obtain financial aid for her studies.
Authorities told the New York Times that Oglesby had boyfriends who believed she was 22 (drop the skincare routine, bestie!). One of the detectives who found Oglesby told KY3 in 2018 that Oglesby had “completely adopted a younger lifestyle: clothing, makeup and personality.” She had also fooled an older couple who took Oglesby in and treated her like a daughter before later becoming suspicious of her story, KY3 reported.
When Oglesby’s ruse was discovered, she was working at a city library in Mountain View. She told police she had been running from domestic violence, per the Times. According to MarketWatch, Oglesby had already been wanted by Arkansas authorities for allegedly stealing $28,000 — via fraudulently issued credit cards — from an auto shop she worked at in 2014.
Under the plea agreement, Oglesby has to pay $17,521 in restitution to South Baptist University, as well as restitution to her daughter Hays, whose identity she stole. Oglesby is also subject to a sentence of up to five years in prison. A raw deal for sure, compared to Liza Miller’s fairytale ending. In real life, society always finds a way to punish 40-year-old women for pretending to be in their 20s and ruining their estranged daughters’ credit.