Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Man allegedly poses as high-schooler (Dubuque Telegraph-Herald)

Man allegedly poses as high-schooler
21-year-old is accused of fraud after attending Darlington High School for more than a year.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

DARLINGTON, Wis. -- A Darlington High School student was arrested on Friday morning at the high school following a police investigation into an alleged fraudulent enrollment.

Elias Sanchez-Alfonso, 21, of Darlington, was charged with obstructing an officer and fraud after an investigation revealed he falsely identified himself as a 16-year-old in order to enroll at Darlington High School in January 2010. Sanchez-Alfonso has been a student at the high school since his enrollment.

The investigation was a result of a confidential tip received by the Darlington Police Department. Darlington Police Chief Jason King said the investigation findings suggest the only motive Sanchez-

Alfonso had for committing the fraud was to acquire an education.

"We have no cause to believe Alfonso had any further criminal intent and learned Alfonso was not a disciplinary problem for school personnel," he said.

Sanchez-Alfonso is in the custody of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement; he had been held in the Lafayette County Jail. Future court hearings and deportation proceedings are pending.

Margarita Hernandez-Rodriguez, 38, of Darlington, was also arrested on a charge of fraud. Hernandez posed as Sanchez-Alfonso's mother and falsified enrollment documents at the school. She was released pending a court date.

Darlington High School Principal Doug McArthur said he had never heard of anything like this in his career.

"It is a very unique situation," he said. "The positive thing for us is, the young man was well-behaved, he had good attendance and was making academic progress up to a certain point."

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