Ukranian man who impersonated a high schooler pleads guilty
HARRISBURG, PA. (WPMT) -- Artur Samarin, also known as Asher Potts, pleaded guilty to several charges related to impersonating a Harrisburg High School student.
Dauphin County First Assistant District Attorney Francis Chardo said "he pleaded guilty to statutory sexual assault, identity theft, and tampering with records, and conspiracy with his foster parents to commit those theft related offenses."
Samarin now faces a maximum of 40 years in prison for those charges, while the Commonwealth dropped an additional corruption of a minor charge.
"He faces up to 40 years imprisonment, now that's the statutory maximum, we know that rarely does anyone get the statutory maximum, but the judge will have full discretion to decide the appropriate sentence," Chardo said.
While Samarin admitted to conspiring with his caretakers, Stephanie and Michael Potts, although no charges have been filed against the couple.
"We're looking at that, of course. The federal authorities are looking at that, that's not for Mr.Samarin to say. We're evaluating that, and we'll do the right thing based on the investigation," Chardo said.
The Ukranian national appeared calm and reserved in court in front of Judge Deborah Curcillo. The judge will decide how much time Samarin will serve at a pre-sentencing hearing on September 20th.
"This was not a plea agreement, but often times, our cases end in guilty pleas, and they decided it was in the best interests to take responsibility and plead guilty," Chardo said.
Whether Samarin will be sent back to the Ukraine, after serving his time, is to be determined.
"He is subject to removal, and that's not for us to say. A federal agency would initiate that. They would lodge the detainer, he would serve his sentence here, and then be subject to removal, if that was deemed appropriate," Chardo said.
Samarin used the the alias Asher Potts, while attending Harrisburg High School from September 2012 through December 2015.
While at school, Samarin met a 15-year-old girl named "E.F." whom he had sex with in the summer and fall of 2015.
"It's an unusual case because it involves pretty sophisticated falsification of identification. Really, changing ones name and age to create a new identity, we don't see that very often," Chardo said.
"The fact that he's 23 years of age, he looks young, that made it easier to pull this off," Chardo added.
In court, Chardo stated the value of the education that Samarin received is more than $2,000.
According to Pennsylvania law, cases of identity theft in which the property or services received total more than $2,000, are classified as a third degree felony.