Yuma High School Duped By 22-Year-Old Man Posing as Student So He Could Play Basketball

For about four months, Yuma resident Anthony Avalos was your typical high school student. He went to class, chased some tail, and played basketball. So, when Yuma Union High School District officials found out that Avalos was actually a 22-year-old man, not a 17- or 18-year-old high school senior, it goes without saying they felt a little duped.

Oh, and the underage high school chick he admitted to police he had sex with while claiming to be a student himself -- she can't be all that thrilled either.

"We had no suspicion at all," says Richard Faidley, associate superintendent for YUHSD. "You could walk across our campus and see a lot of kids with his age appearance."

We took one look at this "kid" and checked to make sure we still had our wallets. He didn't raise any suspicion?

About half-way through the last school year, Avalos went to the school district and registered himself for school.

He never had to show any documentation of his age because of a federal law that requires schools to allow homeless kids to register for school with essentially no questions asked.

The law, the McKinney-Vento Act, was the result of droves of students who were displaced during Hurricane Katrina -- many of whom had their records destroyed by the floods in New Orleans.

Faidley says Avalos must have known about this and pounced on the opportunity to head back to school.

"We found out eventually that he is from Crestview, Florida and graduated from Crestview High School in 2005," Faidley says. "So he was in that part of the country and must of had some idea that he could do this."

Why the hell would someone want to go back to high school, you ask? Hoops baby!

Avalo was hoping that going back to high school would give him the opportunity to show his stuff on the court and maybe get a scholarship to play in college.

It didn't seem to bother him that if he were to play in college, he would be older than most of the students there, too.

Faidley says, on three separate occasions, district officials tried to contact a school in Louisiana that Avalo claimed to have attended before going to Yuma, but it never got back to them.

Faidley says it wasn't until Avalo tried to register to play basketball that his attempt to relive his high school glory days was cut short.

Avalos made a fake birth certificate on his computer, that aside from just looking fake, had spelling errors all over it.

The district launched an investigation and finally realized that a 22-year-old man had been posing as a high school kid for more than four months.

Police were called, and Avalos was arrested and charged with forgery and sexual conduct with a minor.

Avalo is being held on $100,000 bail -- no word on that scholarship.

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James King
Contact: James King