The Nassau County District Attorney is expected to receive 11 to 13 students this week who will be turning themselves in for cheating on SAT and ACT exams, writes Colleen Curry at ABC News.
This comes after a bust earlier in the year of a ring allegedly led by college student Sam Eshaghoff. Eshaghoff is believed to have charged $1,500 to $2,500 to take the tests for younger students.
The DA’s spokesman John Byrne said the county is expecting to find a further thirty five students under investigation for either paying somebody else or being paid by somebody else to falsely take college entrance exams.
He points out that while the statute of limitations prevents them from prosecuting about 15 of those students, the remaining could face felony charges if money changed hands in the process of falsifying business records and identification documents.
Tom Ewing, spokesman for Educational Testing Services, the organization that creates and governs the test, said that despite yearly instances of individual students impersonating one another for the test, cheating rings are unusual.
In 2011, 138 scores were canceled after ETS concluded individuals had cheated on the exam. More than 2 million take the test each year, according to the College Board website.
“The DA doesn’t want to ruin lives, but this is a high stakes test with systemic problems with security and with disclosure,” Byrne said.
“What we’ve learned is, we learned that the colleges are never notified, the high schools are never notified (when students cheat). If ETS knows a student cheated and determines it with certititude, it is never disclosed to high school or college.
“We just want for there to be accountability,” Byrne said.
The previous students who were charged all knew each other from Great Neck North High School on Long Island. Now, students from Great Neck South, St. Mary’s, Roslyn, and North Shore Hebrew Academy are expected to join them.
Ewing said that the Great Neck North principal alerted the ETS to suspiciously high scores on certain students’ SAT results that did not correspond with the students’ school work and after analyzing the handwriting on the tests, it was confirmed as cheating.
Eshaghoff faces up to four years in prison on charges of scheming to defraud in the first degree, falsifying business records in the second degree and criminal impersonation in the second degree. The students who allegedly paid him were charged with misdemeanors and face up to one year in jail.