5 Famous People That Used Fake IDs (And Got Away with It)

Think about fake IDs for a second. Who’s the most likely type of person to use them? If you answered with “teenagers” or “college students,” you fit in with what most people think their demographic tends to be. But here’s a secret: they’re not the only ones to use them.

Crazy, right? But it gets better. There are people throughout the ages who have used fake IDs to do all kinds of things.

Obviously, they didn’t have the list of fake id websites back then but the best part is that they all got away with it in one form or another and are remembered in history.

So, without further ado, let’s meet the legends of fake IDs.

1. Brita Tott: Noble Heiress by Day, Secret Spy by Night

For most people, the goal of their life is to fulfill their dreams and live as they want to. However, for someone like Brita Tott, these ambitions are too small.

She had big dreams and even managed to get everything she ever wanted and more. She managed to be a noble, a royal county administrator, landowner, forger, and spy.

Brita Olovsdotter Tott was a Danish/Swedish noble born to a politically influential family. She was nicknamed the Lady of Hammersta for her notoriety and the name of her property in Sweden.

She was married to a Swedish noble councilor and received a lot of luxurious estates as wedding presents.

 

What many didn’t know at the time was that behind this life of nobility, luxury, and decadence laid a crafty forger and spy.

During the 1451 war between Denmark and Sweden, Brita was instrumental in helping the Danish Army gain victory over the Swedish forces. She was even put on trial for these deeds.

She would act as a spy using her skills of forging official documents and seals to get key information. To do this, she would impersonate high-ranking officials with forged ID papers.

She would then supply this information over to the Danish Army, which allowed them to raid fortresses by surprise.

For this act, Brita was eventually charged with treason and sentenced to be walled alive in a brick wall. However, she was never actually given the punishment and she managed to go free.

2. Jean LaBanta: The Train Bandit That Vanished into Thin Air

They say that crime always pays and that you can never truly get away with doing anything illegal. However, Jean LaBanta proved how wrong that is. He was the true definition of the phrase, “As sly as a wet bandit.”


Jean LaBanta was born in late 1870 in California, USA. There isn’t much known about his early life other than the fact that he was smart and confident despite not being on the good side of the law.

Jean was committing small-time robberies and crimes in his hometown, which led him to being noticed by law enforcement.

Soon, he moved on to bigger acts like faking checks to get more money in one go. He would often have to assume roles of significant people to avoid detection and suspicion by faking identity documents.

LaBanta’s last few blows would be his penultimate train robberies. He and some of his accomplices stormed Southern Pacific Train No. 23, No.77 and No. 9 over a span of several months and got away with sacks of $100 bills.

While he got away with most of his crimes, he was eventually caught and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Even though he was caught, things got more interesting once he got out on parole. On September 24, 1926, LaBanta simply vanished.

There are no public records of him past that date. No one knows what happened to him or where he went. He just disappeared.

3. Ferdinand Demara: The Man with Nine Lives

There are many religions and cultures out there that push the idea of being reborn and having an entirely different take on life.

For many people, this is just a spiritual idea or a fantasy. For a man like Ferdinand Demara, this became reality.

Ferdinand Demara, master imposter, in jail. (Photo by Hank Walker/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Demara was born in the early 1920s to a very notable family in Massachusetts. Even at an early age, he was considered to be very talented. He had been blessed with a photographic memory as well as a high IQ.

He started his chaotic adventures by leaving his home when he turned 16 to become a monk. Four years later, he ended up joining and serving in the US Army.

While he was serving, he assumed the identity of his comrade to start a new life. He deserted the army to become a monk again.

He then left his practice of being a monk to join the US Navy. However, he was still not satisfied with his life. He faked his suicide, used a fake ID, and became a psychology teacher.

Even this wasn’t the end of his new lives. He was reborn again by using a fake ID to assume the identity of a trauma surgeon during the Korean War.

All in all, Ferdinand had lived six different lives all with the help of fake IDs.

He was caught twice by the FBI and the Canadian Navy but did not serve any time for his fake ID crimes. The only punishment he ever received was to serve 18 months for deserting the army.

4. Lucio Urtubia: The Modern-Day Robin Hood

A lot of the people on this list have used fake IDs in some way or another. What makes Lucio Urtubia different from all of them is that he not only used them himself but also gave the gift of fake IDs to others. This is why he is considered to be the robin hood of his time.

Born in Spain in the 1930s, Lucio Urubia was one of five siblings. He was born into a poor home and his father left him early on to serve time in jail.

In 1954, Lucio went to France with his acquaintances fleeing from a robbery they had committed.

That is when he joined the Young Anarchists and began to realize his talents in forgery.

After successfully making convincing false papers, Lucio started to quickly capitalize on his talents. He would help fleeing refugees with a fake ID.

He’d even use them himself at times to commit robberies at banks and distribute that money back to the common man as he saw fit. That’s another reason why he’s the modern robin hood!

Although he committed major crimes like forgery, robbery and arson and was pursued by the likes of Citibank and the CIA, Lucio got off relatively clean.

He only served six months and all charges against him were dropped. He then went on to live his life in Paris without any trouble.

5. Frank Abagnale: Master of the Fake ID

Before committing a crime, most would wear a mask to hide their identity. For someone like Frank Abagnale, his face was his mask and he used it to assume any identity he wanted.

Frank William Abagnale Jr. was born in 1948 in Bronxville, New York. He had a rough start with his parents separating and filing for divorce in his early teens. He had a high intelligence level, but his troubled life led him to use his intelligence for a life of crime.

When he was just 15 years old, he had learned how to con money out of his father. This led him to look into ways of writing faulty checks on accounts made with fake IDs.

Not satisfied with these acts, Frank moved to grander things like using fake IDs to impersonate people. He didn’t limit himself to just ID cards. He faked everything from employee cards to medical licenses in order to change his identity.

In just a couple of years, Frank had impersonated an airline pilot, a teaching assistant, a general physician and an attorney. What makes him so interesting is that he could convincingly play such different roles.

He led the authorities on a wild goose chase for a long time but was finally apprehended in France in 1969. Frank Abagnale was charged with fraud among other things and sentenced to several years in prison. However, he got out of prison much earlier than expected as he was recruited by the FBI to help them crack forgery and theft cases.

Today, he enjoys life as a security consultant, lecturer and company owner. His life events even inspired the Academy Award-winning movie “Catch Me If You Can.”

These 5 notable people have made a name for themselves by using fakes for purposes other than getting into a bar while being underage.

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