23-year-old foreigner duped JROTC into thinking he was teen, possibly plotting attack

There have been plenty of teens-posing-as-adults stories that have garnered national media attention over recent years – but this one takes the cake for adult posing as teen.

A 23-year-old Ukrainian national was attending a Pennsylvania high school for four years under the name Asher Potts.  Artur Samarin — his real name– managed to dupe a lot of people, for a very long time.

Samarin excelled under his adopted identity, earning straight A’s at John Harris High School where he volunteered, was in the National Honor Society and was a member of the ROTC. He even got an official mayoral proclamation naming Oct. 27, 2013, “Asher Potts Day,” according to PennLive.  He reportedly wanted to become a NASA engineer.

Unfortunately though, the imposter is now facing statutory sex assault and corruption of minors charges. According to police, Samarin had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student in 2014– when he was 22 years old.

Samarin was also charged with identity theft and tampering with public records (both of which were related to his false identity).

He told ABC 27 News, back in February, that he was guilty and that he did abuse the system. He added that as a cadet he had an honor. “I’m here for a reason.. I’m a criminal, it is true,” he said. During the brief jailhouse interview Samarin also said: “I still have a dream… I love the United States.. this land provided me with opportunities.. opened golden doors for me.”

Authorities were tipped off back in December that Asher was in the country illegally–according to the Washington Post.

Police say Michael and Stephayne Potts – Asher’s adoptive parents- helped him with his plot and got all the legal documents for him. They were also the ones who suggested he change his age so they could adopt him, police said.

“In exchange — and out of fear that they could out him — he did chores,” the Post reported.

“I was cleaning the toilet, I was cooking for them, I was doing everything in [the] house…Stephayne was taking classes in HACC 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.”

Samarin — who had already finished high school and two years of college in the Ukraine –enrolled in the American high school using false documents in 2012. Police say he was in the U.S. initially on a visitor visa after “outstaying a tourist visa that expired on March 1, 2013.”

Last month, Michael and Stephayne Potts said they believe Samarin was testing the school’s security and was planning to attack.

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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