SAT Cheating Scandal

November 22, 2011 by staff 

SAT Cheating Scandal, Thirteen more current and former high school students from an affluent community on New York’s Long Island were charged Tuesday in a widening college entrance exam cheating scandal, bringing the total to 20.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said four of the new defendants are accused of taking payments of $500 to $3,600 to stand in for students on SAT or ACT exams. The other nine are accused of paying the alleged impostors to stand in for them.

In total, prosecutors allege that 15 high school students got five others to take tests for them. Rice said prosecutors actually suspect 40 students were involved in cheating but the two-year statute of limitation had expired for many.

“Honest hard-working students are taking a back seat to the cheaters,” she said at a news conference. “This is a system begging for security enhancements.”

Attorney Brian Griffin represents two of the defendants — Joshua Chefec, a 20-year-old accused of taking a test for money, and a student accused of paying someone to take a test. Griffin said the two were not guilty, but that the allegations should be handled by the schools, not the district attorney’s office.

“You’re talking about students cheating on tests,” Griffin said. “You’re not talking about violent crime. You’re not talking about drugs. No one condones but it does not belong in the criminal justice system.”

Michael DerGarabedian, who represents a student accused of paying a test taker, agreed.

“I find it very difficult to believe that they’re now prosecuting kids based on allegations that they cheated,” DerGarabedian said. “Let the school handle it.”

Tuesday’s announcement follows the arrests of seven people in September. At the time, authorities said six Great Neck North High School students paid the seventh, a former Great Neck North student, to take their SAT exams for them. All seven have pleaded not guilty.

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