A 28-year-old immigrant has been arrested for allegedly posing as a high school student for a year in order to improve her English, law enforcement authorities in Louisiana say.
The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s office arrested Martha Jessenia Gutierrez-Serrano, 28, and her mother Marta Elizeth Serrano-Alvarado, 46, on June 14 for allegedly falsifying government documents — a passport and birth certificate — in order to enroll Martha in high school, a press release from the sheriff’s office stated.
Detectives with the sheriff’s office were first alerted to the alleged scheme when officials with the St. Charles Parish Public Schools contacted authorities on May 29 regarding the possibility that an adult was attending classes at the high school. School officials began an internal investigation after receiving a tip that a purported 17-year-old student was actually in her 20’s. The results of their investigations led them to call the authorities, the press release stated.
Records allegedly show that Gutierrez-Serrano registered at Hahnville High School on June 18, 2022, and attended throughout the next school year. Police found that she was not involved in any extra-curricular activities while in attendance and had no disciplinary issues, the press release stated. (RELATED: 29-Year-Old Woman Who Allegedly Enrolled In High School Pleads Not Guilty)
“She was in school, she minded her own business, she did her schoolwork, she caused no trouble,” St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne stated, according to ABC News. “She wanted to learn English.”
Although Marta had lived in the United States for a “number of years” under an expired visa, her daughter had only just arrived on American soil in the fall of 2021, the sheriff revealed, adding that she could “very easily be taken for a young teenager.”
Champagne added that the intention behind the alleged scheme was was easy to sympathize with, as it appeared she only wanted to further her education and learn English. “Unfortunately, whether it was her decision or her mother’s decision, it’s certainly bad judgment to submit a falsified document to the government,” he stated, according to ABC News.