“They feel they’ve done everything right”: Fake student’s adoptive parents concerned

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Michael and Stephayne Potts have been trying to keep a low profile in the Harrisburg area since police arrested their adoptive son, Artur Samarin, last week.

Police say the Potts' helped Samarin create the identity of "Asher Potts," equipped with a driver's license, social security card, and birth certificate. As "Asher Potts," Artur Samarin posed as a Harrisburg High School student for four years, where he was a top student and valued community member.

On February 23, Samarin was arrested and charged with six criminal counts, including identity theft. He was charged with two sex crimes on February 26 after police say he had sex with a 15-year-old. On February 29, Swatara Township Police added two more charges for identity theft and lying to police due to his involvement with the township's citizens police academy.

Attempts to reach Michael and Stephayne Potts have been unsuccessful, although they are still in the area and are speaking with local authorities, according to Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico. Sources close to Mr. and Mrs. Potts say the couple moved to a location where they feel safe, and they feel a considerable amount of pressure given the circumstances.

"They are very concerned," the source told FOX43. "They feel like they have done everything right. They feel like they've tried to help a young man who needed help and was abandoned."

The source said the couple had not yet hired an attorney due to financial issues.

A look into Pennsylvania's court system shows over a decade of lawsuits filed against Michael and Stephayne Potts. Dating back to 2003, the couple were either listed together or individually in 20 separate lawsuits involving landlords or credit companies. The total amount of money judges have required the Potts to pay is $40,683.01.

"It certainly raises some red flags," said District Attorney Marsico, who said he was aware of the history of lawsuits filed against the Potts.

The most recent landlord lawsuit was filed February 29 by a Theodore Long of Dillsburg. Attempts to reach him at his home, both by phone and in person, have been unsuccessful.

"There is a focus on the Potts, as well as Mr. Samarin and anything else he may be involved in," Marsico said. "Some of what he was involved in, he may have received other benefits from the government, and most of those require some sort of parental involvement. It's become apparent (the Potts) had to become involved in some of these situations."