Star High-School Player is a 22-Year-Old Impostor

Wednesday, May 12, 2010  |  Updated 9:27 AM CDT
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Star High-School Player is a 22-Year-Old Impostor

Ector County Jail/Odessa American

Photo of Guerdwich Montimere, 22, who posed as a 16-year-old Ector County student named Jerry Joesph. (Photos courtesy of the Odessa American and Ector County Jail)

Police say a West Texas high school student who starred for the school's basketball team this season turns out to be a 22-year-old naturalized citizen from Haiti.

The Odessa American reports Guerdwich Montimere has been charged with presenting false identification to a peace officer. That's after police confronted him about his identity.

Ector County school district officials said Montimere posed as Jerry Joseph, a 16-year-old sophomore at Odessa's Permian High School.

Montimere had enrolled at the junior high as a 15-year-old in February 2009, and had begun living with Permian's basketball coach, Danny Wright, telling him he was homeless.

"This affected a lot of people. The whole school of Permian embraced that kid. He deceived us and played on everyone's emotions," Wright said.

Suspicions about the player's identity first arose when three Florida basketball coaches familiar with Montimere spotted him last month at an amateur basketball tournament in Little Rock, Ark.

"We saw him. We've known Guerdwich since he was in seventh or eighth grade," Cedric Smith, a coach in Miami, said last week. "The mannerisms were him."

School district officials grew more suspicious when they contacted U.S. immigration officials, who eventually confirmed the alleged charade.

Montimere is in the Ector County jail in Odessa with bond set at $500. He faces six months in jail and a $2,500 fine. Jail officials had no attorney listed for Montimere.

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