Ukrianian national Artur Samarin is in custody at a Harrisburg, PA, area prison after he posed as a high school student and fraudulently attended public school in the area. In addition to the original charges, Samarin has also been accused of statutory rape in connection with a relationship he had with a 15-year-old fellow student.
Penn Live reports that when “Asher Potts” was outed as an adult man named Artur Samarin last Tuesday, questions were immediately raised as to whether he had dated any fellow students while attending high school.
Charges were soon filed in connection with a relationship Samarin had with a 15-year-old girl in 2014 when he was 22-years-old.
According to Penn Live, Samarin is now being held on a $200,000 cash bond in connection with a number of felonies, including statutory sexual assault, corruption of minors, identity theft, and tampering with public records.
Samarin may also be in hot water over how he came to be in the country in the first place.
ABC News reports that before he became Asher Potts, Samarin was a Ukrainian national who entered the United States with a three-month J1 Exchange Visa.
“He was working for a local company during that time,” Harrisburg Police told ABC News. “After the Visa expired, he applied and was granted B2 Tourist Visa. The B2 Visa expired on 3/1/2013.”
After his B2 Visa expired, Samarin failed to leave the country.
Prior to the expiration of his Visa, Samarin had stayed with a Harrisburg area couple named Michael and Stephayne Potts. According to Samarin, the couple offered to adopt him after his Visa expired and helped him obtain a fake birth certificate and social security card.
Samarin’s new birth certificate claimed that he was born in 1997, and he used it to enroll as a freshman at John Harris High School despite the fact that he had already graduated high school and attended some college in the Ukraine. It was then that he took the name “Asher Potts” and went back to high school despite the fact that he was a 20-year-old adult.
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) February 26, 2016
Fox News reports that Samarin was an excellent student during his time at John Harris High School who earned good grades and was even inducted into the National Honor Society. Samarin also participated in the school’s junior ROTC program and Naval Sea Cadet program.
According to ABC News, Samarin was also enrolled in a dual program at John Harris High School and Harrisburg University when his ruse was finally discovered.
When authorities discovered that “Asher Potts” was really an adult Ukranian national named Artur Samarin, three initial charges were brought against him. Samarin was originally accused of theft, identity theft and records tampering. However, Fox News reports that the police were originally tipped off last December that “Asher Potts” might be an adult living illegally in the U.S. and engaging in sexual relationship with minor female students.
ABC News affiliate WHTM spoke with Samarin before the charges of statutory rape and corruption of minors were brought, and he admitted guilt in fraudulently attending high school.
“I did abuse the system. Yes I did. I did use this identity,” Samarin told WHTM in a phone interview. “I’m here in this prison because I’ve done a crime. I’m a criminal, unfortunately, but it is true.”
ABC News reports that WHTM was not aware of the statutory rape charges when the interview was conducted, so Samarin was not able to comment on that subject.
Michael and Stephayne Potts have not yet been charged with any crime in connection with Samarin’s activities. Although Samarin claims that it was their idea to set him up with a fake birth certificate that would allow him to attend high school, authorities are still investigating the case.
What should the punishment be for an adult man who stays in the country illegally to attend high school and engage in sexual relationships with minors?
[Image courtesy Harrisburg Bureau of Police]