Pencils Down: 7 Students Arrested in SAT Cheating Scheme

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It was an elaborate ruse that involved fake IDs, air travel and lots of money. If only such effort was applied to actually studying.

Between 2009 and this year, six high schoolers allegedly paid a college student between $1,500 and $2,500 to fly back home to New York to take the SAT for them. All seven were arrested this week for being part of the cheating scandal.

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According to prosecutors, the six current and former students of Great Neck North High School in Long Island, N.Y., hired 19-year-old Sam Eshaghoff, who attends Emory University, to impersonate them and take the standardized test. Eshaghoff presented at each test site a fake driver’s license bearing his photo with the paying student’s name, authorities said. The students had signed up to take the test at schools other than their own so they wouldn’t be recognized.

And they got what they paid for: high scores ranging between 2140 and 2220, out of the SAT’s perfect score of 2400, prosecutors said. But rumors went around about a cheating ring (it’s high school, after all), which drew the school faculty’s attention. They were able to identify the cheaters because their scores seemed mismatched to their regular academic grades, and Eshaghoff was caught as the test taker after a handwriting analysis, according to authorities.

Eshaghoff has pleaded not guilty to charges of scheming to defraud, criminal impersonation and falsifying business records. The students whom he impersonated were charged with misdemeanors and released without bail.

Investigators are looking into whether Eshaghoff also took the test for students from other schools. (via AP)

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