New York prosecutors are filing more criminal charges against students in a widening SAT scandal involving an Emory University sophomore. The testing company is also promising to tighten security after the scandal showed breakdowns that allowed the cheating.
Thirteen New York students were taken into custody Tuesday as part of an expanding investigation into SAT cheating on Long Island, NY. It was the second group among 15 students from affluent Long Island communities accused of hiring or receiving payment to take college admission exams for others.
In September, Emory sophomore Sam Eshaghoff was arrested on charges he went home to Great Neck North High School and passed himself off as at least seven other students, getting as much as $2,500 to take their SATs. According to prosecutors, test takers used fake IDs and went to test sites where they wouldn’t be recognized.
Eshaghoff, 19, has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison.
Attorneys for the students said the school district should be handling the case, not the district attorney.
“I have no idea what the motivation of the district attorney is,” said Marvin Roth, an attorney for one of the accused students.
But Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said the students shouldn’t get special treatment.
“The fact that this wide-ranging fraud is happening in the high stakes world of college admissions doesn’t make it right and doesn’t make it legal,” she said.
The College Board, which administers the SAT, said it is reviewing test security and may require students to provide additional identification or have a digital photo taken.
Rice said as many as 40 students may be involved in the cheating, but the two-year statute of limitation has expired, making it impossible to prosecute many of them.