By Michael Navia
Going by the name of Asher Potts, a 23-year-old Ukrainian man enrolled in John Harris High School has posed as a high school student since 2012. According to the school, as of his sophomore year, he had a 4.16 GPA, was a member of the National Honor Society, and was very active in his community. Furthermore, he even became a lieutenant in the Navy Junior ROTC program at his school. Artur Samarin a.k.a. Asher Potts was arrested on February 23, 2016 on charges of identity theft, tampering with public records and theft by unlawful taking.
It’s unclear when Samarin arrived in the United States, but authorities said he stayed beyond the expiration of his visa leading him to create the false identity of Asher Potts to stay in the United States. Samarin never caused any harm to anyone around him. Just like any foreigner, he saw an education as a pathway to a better life. He earned high grades and even leant a helping hand in the community in which he lived.
In May 2014, Pennsylvania State Rep. Patty Kim posted a picture with Samarin on Twitter with the message: “Asher Potts, #HBG HS [sophomore] with a 4.16 GPA in ROTC is a new member of the Nat’l Honor Society. #goingplaces #proud.” When asked about what she thought about Pott’s current situation she had this to say, “I keep thinking back if I had missed any signs as I’m still in shock,” she said in an emailed statement. “I observed that he lived his life to the fullest by accomplishing so much in a short period of time. It seems to me now that he wanted to maximize his time before he would get caught… He must have had a rough life in his homeland to not want to go back. I just wish he’d found a way to stay here legally.” He is currently imprisoned and police are still expecting additional charges related to the situation.