Asher Potts appears to be a model high school student. He is in the honors society and the ROTC, participates in community service and was a student representative to the local school board.
But in reality, Potts is actually a 23-year-old Ukrainian national named Artur Samarin who posed as a Harrisburg High School student as a ploy to stay in the country, police in Pennsylvania say.
Samarin was arrested Tuesday afternoon, PennLive.com reports.
A former school official, Gene Veno, told PennLive that Samarin was “focused and driven,” and “always a gentleman,” adding that he “marveled at his maturity.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Samarin Created the Asher Potts Identity After His Visa Expired, Police Say
Artur Samarin, 23, created the Asher Potts identity in 2012 after his visa expired, and enrolled in Harrisburg High School that year as a ninth grader, PennLive.com reports.
He was already 19 at the time.
The U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement told the newspaper it is monitoring the case.
Samarin provided a false ID for Potts, along with a fake date of birth, and obtained a Social Security card and other documents. He had a Pennsylvania driver’s license under the name of Asher Potts when he was arrested Tuesday afternoon, police say.
Authorities have not released details about how Samarin’s true identity was uncovered.
2. He Had a 4.16 Grade Point Average & Was Inducted Into the National Honor Society in 2014
“Asher Potts” had a 4.16 grade point average, PennLive.com reports.
Upon his induction into the National Honor Society in May 2014, Pennsylvania State Rep. Patty Kim posted a photo with him on Twitter, using #goingplaces and #proud:
Samarin was set to graduate this spring and was a finalist for The Patriot-News’ Best & Brightest program, the newspaper reports.
3. He Was Active in the School Community, Including in the ROTC & a Local Food Bank
Artur Samarin did not fly under the radar as Asher Potts, according to information found online and what he told PennLive on his resume for the Best & Brightest program.
Along with his induction into the National Honors Society, Potts was in the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps and was runner up for Homecoming king in 2015. He also took courses at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.
“Asher Potts” was also one of the first members of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s Junior Advisory Council, according to its website.
4. He Was His High School’s Student Representative to the School Board
According to a cached page on the Harrisburg school district’s website, Potts was the student representative to the city Board of School Directors. His name has now been removed from the site.
Samarin, while posing as Potts, also recently took part in a forum on youth violence hosted by the high school.
He was one of five student panelists and suggested “good parents and grandparents” in Harrisburg should find troubled teens and invite them into their homes for activities, according to the PennLive report on the forum.
5. He Is Facing Charges of Identity Theft & Tampering With Public Records
Samarin was charged with identity theft and tampering with public records charges, police said in a press release.
The school district said it is cooperating with the police investigation.
“We are treating this as a serious matter,” Kirsten Keys, a district spokeswoman, said in a press release. “At this time, the investigation is in the hands of the Harrisburg Bureau of Police. The district will continue to cooperate fully with the police department as they move forward with their investigation.”
Keys added that the district does not know “all of the details surround the arrest.” School District Superintendent Sybil Knight-Burney told PennLive.com she couldn’t comment because discussing information about any student would violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.