An Emory University sophomore is accused of receiving thousands of dollars to take the SAT exam for a half-dozen students. He made his first court appearance in New York City on Tuesday.
"These students paid someone to take the test for them,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.
Emory student arrested in SAT cheating scam Officers lead Emory sophomore Sam Eshaghoff and six others to court. Prosecutors said Long Island native Sam Eshaghoff, 19, went home to Great Neck North High School and passed himself off as other students, getting as much as $2,500 to take their SATs. The high school has long been renowned as one of the best public high schools in the United States, where students are under heavy pressure to get into top universities.
Eshaghoff and six others, one of whom he allegedly impersonated by falsifying IDs, were arrested. Investigators said he took the exam where the proctors wouldn’t recognize him or the names of the other students. Rice said innocent students were cheated.
"Every single school that these six students applied to, they were competing with kids that were not cheating," Rice said.
In court, Eshaghoff's lawyer said his client was not guilty and if anything, the punishment for cheating should stay on school grounds.
“Across the country no one no one has ever had a case go to criminal court because of cheating on an exam or alleged cheating on an exam," attorney Matin Emouna said.
Eshaghoff could spend up to four years in prison if convicted of criminal impersonation. His co-defendants, some of whom are already in college, face misdemeanor charges. It's unclear if they will face academic punishment.