This is a bizarre story from Odessa, Texas. A West Texas student named Jerry Joseph led his high school basketball team to the state playoffs last season. He was actually a twenty-two year old man and not a teenager. The basketball star was really Guerdwich Montimere, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Haiti. A Florida coach recognized the man who played as a basketball player in his high school a few years ago.
Not only did the man pose as a teenager but he also claimed he was homeless. The basketball coach felt sorry for him and let him live in his house for the season. Sounds like the story line from “The Blind Side” starring Sandra Bullock. However, the ending to this story was not what Montimere expected.
Montimere enrolled at the local junior high school as a 15-year-old in February 2009 and then moved on to high school. High school officials became suspicious about his identity when three Florida basketball coaches recognized him at an amateur tournament. The coaches said that he was Montimere and not Jerry Joseph. Montimere graduated their high school in Fort Lauderdale in 2007.
School officials contacted U.S. immigration officials and found that his fingerprints matched on his original immigration papers. He was Jerry Joseph and not Guerdwich Montimere.
Montimere was arrested and booked into Ector County jail on a charge of presenting false identification to a peace officer. He was released from jail after posting a $500 bond.
If convicted of the misdemeanor, Montimere could face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. The sad part of this scam is that the high school in Texas will have to forfeit the 2009 basketball season.