When we hear the term “identity theft” we automatically tend to think of faceless criminals on the internet, stealing our credit card information and racking up huge bills, or purchasing homes, cars or other big ticket items using our personal information.
However, while there certainly are an alarming number of cases like that, there are also cases like that of Artur Samarin, or Asher Potts as he was known to the people in the town of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This is how his story unfolded, and why you should always consider international background check companies a key factor when you’re hiring employees—or even admitting foreign students.
Seeking a Better Life as an American Honors Student
Artur Samarin arrived in the US on a temporary visa. He was seeking a better life, outside of his home country of Ukraine, and his family had pooled their resources to help him head for America, in the hopes of finding his own American dream.
Like so many others, however, Artur’s plans didn’t quite work out the way he’d hoped, and about four years ago, his visa expired, leaving him without legal status in the USA. Unlike most others, however, who choose to return to their home countries, and try again, Artur chose a different path, and Asher Potts was born.
It’s unclear exactly why or how, but around that time, Michaela and Stephayne Potts stepped in, helping to forge documentation for Samarin, transforming him into a high school student. By all accounts, Samarin, who is actually 23, and much older than his high school peers, excelled in the role, he was an honors student, winning awards and even being honored by the mayor.
It was only when Samarin had a falling out with his American “parents” that the truth began to emerge, shocking the city of Harrisburg, and everyone else who had had contact with young Asher Potts. Including, apparently, his teenaged girlfriend.
Not All Sympathetic
Even after he was caught out in his lie, Artur Samarin remained a respectful young man, admitting to his deception and even apologizing for it, and while there’s no doubt that many laws were broken in the story of Asher Potts, it’s hard not to feel just a little bit sympathetic to a young man who worked hard, was by all accounts a model student and member of society, and appears only to have wanted a better life in America.
It’s important to note, however, that Samarin’s case is the exception rather than the rule, and most international background check companies (including ours) will tell you that in 99.99% of all cases where we find foreigners using false credentials or fake names, their goals are a lot less sympathetic. In fact, they’re far more likely to be those faceless criminals than a young guy looking for a break in our great country.
This story really does just highlight how easy it is to create a false identity and keep it up, in plain sight, for years. After all, if a young guy and a suburban couple can pull it off, then just about anyone else could too. All the more reason to exercise caution in your international dealings, don’t you think?