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Lawyer: A 29-year-old man who posed as a teenage student was alone


Lawyer for 29-year-old woman accused of using fake documents to enroll as a high school student in New Jersey says she did it because she felt lonely

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — A 29-year-old woman accused of using false documents to register as a high school student in New Jersey and attend classes over a four-day period did so because she felt lonely and wanted to return to her days with friends at school, his lawyer said.

The woman pleaded not guilty on Monday to a charge of providing a false government document. Her lawyer said she knew she had made a mistake and had asked to participate in a pre-trial intervention program which could eventually lead to the charge being dropped. She is due back in court in May.

The woman is a South Korean citizen who came to the United States alone when she was 16 to attend a private boarding school, the lawyer said. She then graduated from Rutgers University in 2019.

The lawyer said his client had no malicious intent when she enrolled in New Brunswick High School in January. She was simply looking to return to “a safe and welcoming place and an environment that she remembers fondly,” he said.

Authorities said the woman obtained the phone numbers of students who helped her navigate her way through the school and continued to text some of them days after her ruse was discovered. . She was banned from entering the district school grounds and authorities advised students not to have contact with her.

The woman provided district officials with a fake birth certificate when registering, officials said. The district has nearly 10,000 students.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.