Asher Potts told a series of huge lies to pass himself off as a normal teen and to sleep with a young woman. His deceit is coming back to haunt him now.
His first lie was a simple one – his name. He was born Artur Samarin, not Asher Potts.
His second lie was about his age. He said he was 18 but he was actually 23.
His third lie was about his citizenship.
Samarin attended classes and made friends at John Harris High School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania after moving from Ukraine to “start a better life”.
He was a standout student, earning a 4.16 Grade Point Average (4.33 is the highest achievable).
He was so good in class that he was named to the National Honour Society and mentioned by State Republican Patty Kim. He wanted to work for NASA but that dream was crushed when police discovered his true identity and laid charges this week.
Samarin is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl in 2014 when he was 22. Police say he told detectives about the incident in detail in February this year.The charges, which include passport and security fraud, as well as statutory sexual assault, make up the latest chapter in an intriguing story that started so positively but soon unravelled.
Samarin’s new identity developed after meeting Michael and Stephayne Potts, a couple who helped him enrol at the local school and who lent him their surname.
In exchange, he took care of the house, according to The Washington Post.
“I was cleaning the toilet, I was cooking for them, I was doing everything in (the) house,” he said.
“Stephayne was taking classes and I was doing homework for her. Pretty much like a slave driver system, but I didn’t mind as long as I’m going to school.”
From behind bars, Samarin told Pennsylvania TV network ABC27 he “could be better but I’m still alive.” He said he preferred to be called Asher Potts.
“I’m constantly shaking … It’s scary, that’s how I feel. Unfortunately I am guilty. It’s justice, what can I say. I did abuse the system, yes I did. I did use this identity.
“I’m a cadet and I have honour. Honour tells you that yes I did and I’m here for a reason. I’m here in this prison because I’ve done a crime
. I’m a criminal unfortunately, but it is true.”
His story came undone when he graduated with honours from the Pennsylvania high school and was accepted into a college in Florida.
Background checks on the new recruit revealed he was considerably older than he said he was and that he had overstayed a student work visa.
Samarin’s lawyer made a brief statement ahead of the hearing.
“While the case certainly touches on matters of public concern like immigration, we would like folks to continue to keep an open mind and remember that there’s a real person at the centre of the case whose story we look forward to telling,” lawyer Clarke Madden said.
The full story is expected to come out in the next few weeks. At least now the world knows his real name.