NC couple accused of using fake visas to enroll student athlete at NC school

Aris Hines and Brandi Thomason (WFMY)

ALAMANCE, N.C. — Two people have been charged following an investigation into Eastern Alamance High athletics program involving a student at the school.

The Alamance County Sheriff’s Office along with the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force arrested and charged both Aris Hines, 37, and Brandi Thomason, 35, of Mebane. Thomason is Hines’ fiancé. Both are charged with felony common law obstruction of justice and obtaining property by false pretense.

The charges stem from an investigation initiated by the Sheriff’s Office following a report of fraudulent documents presented to a school in the Alamance-Burlington School System in 2015. The Sheriff’s Office said the documents were tied to a student-athlete from Nigeria at Eastern Alamance High.

Investigators believe Hines and Thomason acted to fraudulently enroll the student into the school system and to participate in two sports. Randy Jones with the Sheriff’s Office said the student could have been trafficked. He also said Hines was suspected of producing false visas. He also said the student’s visa did not check out, which cost him his eligibility.

An investigation by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association stripped Eastern Alamance football and basketball teams of a combined 28 wins. The school also had to repay $19,000 in playoff gate receipts.

ABSS Superintendent William Harrison said, “While we are certainly disappointed at the athletic and funding losses at Eastern, we appreciate the Sheriff’s Office initiating this investigation which exonerates the administration and athletic department from any purposeful wrongdoing.”

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said the investigation is not done yet, “I have tasked our investigators with following all leads and continuing to interview persons who may have knowledge of this case. These arrests may be the tip of an iceberg that we intend to break.”

Hines and Thomason are in the Alamance County Detention Center on a $3 million bonds.

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