Police say Hanson regularly went by at least three different aliases. He sports a rap sheet that stretches back to an arson conviction in 1995.
At the time of his arrest, Hanson was exploiting a tuition waiver granted to him by the university's disability services to pursue a doctoral degree. The exact methodology Hanson used to fool the university into granting him admission into a high-level program remains unclear. An incident in April 2017 that involved Hanson flying into a rage frightened several professors who subsequently filed disciplinary complaints with the university. At this stage, university police conducted a background check.
This process allowed officers to uncover an active arrest warrant for Hanson in Oregon, where he was wanted in connection with a forgery case. In 2001, when Hanson was 25, he allegedly forged documents to pose as a 17-year-old and enroll in a high school. Upon being discovered, Hanson fled the state and began moving and changing his name.
Without the information provided by the background check, which included fingerprint data, it's unlikely Hanson's ruse would have unraveled quite so quickly. While some universities have moved to implement background checks of student employees, employing such checks on regular students would be an unusual move. How Hanson was able to avoid detection for so long, and how he convinced the University of Texas to grant him financial aid under fraudulent pretenses, highlights how easy it can be for someone to hide in plain sight.
Employers often face similar concerns when conducting background checks on an employee. The information they receive is contingent on beginning with accurate information. This is why it can be helpful to expand the scope of a background check to include an alias search. backgroundchecks.com provides a reliable alias search that checks names and Social Security numbers against hundreds of millions of criminal records alongside important databases like the SSA's Death Master List. The result is the ability to more confidently and thoroughly investigate an individual before allowing them into any significant position.
Police finally caught up with Hanson in Atlanta after he fled Texas, seemingly aware his identity there was compromised. With his arrest, Hanson is likely to face charges both in Texas and in Oregon for forgery and tampering.