Fake honors student heads to jail for high school fraud, statutory rape charges

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — A 23-year-old Ukrainian man who lied about his name and age to attend a Pennsylvania high school has been ordered to spend 11½ to 23 months in jail for having sex with a 15-year-old classmate and stealing a public school education.

CBS News reports a judge also ordered Artur Samarin to repay the Harrisburg School District $44,000 – but prosecutors don’t expect that will happen. Samarin has agreed to be deported once he serves his jail time. He also faces seven years’ probation after he’s released from jail.

Samarin offered only one explanation for his lies: “I made a huge mistake to pursue my American dream.”

His lawyers have said he came to the U.S. legally, but stayed after his visa expired so he could adopt his fake persona as Asher Potts. He impressed teachers at Harrisburg High School and community leaders before authorities learned his identity.

Samarin’s “Potts” alias was a member of the National Honor Society and the school’s ROTC and Naval Sea Cadet programs. A former teacher testified he helped tutor other students and “was a credit to the Harrisburg School District.”

Prosecutors argue back that Samarin is an adult who took advantage of a teenage girl and “deserves every minute he serves in prison.” The girl Samarin had sex with was one he met while in class and prosecutors say “she frankly didn’t want to have to see him again.”

Defense lawyers blame the man’s adoptive parents Stephanye and Michael Potts, for concocting the con. Both now face federal fraud charges.

A federal judge earlier this month sentenced Samarin to two months in federal prison for passport fraud and Social Security fraud.

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