Students arrested in SAT cheating case in NY

September 28, 2011 6:51:18 PM PDT
A prosecutor in New York is investigating whether students in other districts on Long Island took part in a cheating scam on college entrance exams that resulted in the arrest of seven current or former students at a prestigious high school.

The arrests were made Tuesday on allegations that one of the seven associated with Great Neck North High School - a 19-year-old college student - took the SAT exams for the others in exchange for payments of up to $2,500.

Sam Eshaghoff provided fake IDs when he sat in for his classmates on the exams between 2009 and this year, prosecutors said. In one of the cases, he is accused of taking the SAT for a girl, although in that case he did it for free, Nassau County prosecutors said.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges of scheming to defraud, criminal impersonation and falsifying business records. He's a student at Emory University in Atlanta and also attended the University of Michigan; he posted $500 bail and was released.

Eshaghoff's attorney, Matin Emouna, questioned Wednesday whether the issue required the attention of prosecutors.

"This should have been handled by the school administration," Emouna said in a telephone interview. "Where are you going to draw the line as a society? Are we going to start arresting kindergarten kids? Everyone knows cheating goes on. We're not proud of it, but in some way we've all done it."

Eshagoff's six current or former classmates were released without bail after being charged with misdemeanors, prosecutors said.

The six, some of whom are now in college, apparently got their money's worth: Prosecutors say Eshaghoff scored between 2140 and 2220 on the tests, which are used by college administrators in determining who gets into school. The top score on an SAT is 2400.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said her office is investigating whether similar SAT scams occurred in at least two other area high schools. Prosecutors also are investigating whether Eshaghoff took the SAT exam for others.

Great Neck North is rated as one of the nation's top academic high schools. Alumni include David Baltimore, a Nobel Prize-winning biologist; filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola; and Olympic figure

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