A former University student is facing criminal charges for taking the SAT for other students.
According to Nassau County prosecutors, Sam Eshaghoff took the SAT for six other students from his former high school in Long Island, N.Y. He is charged with scheming to defraud, criminal impersonation and falsifying business records. The six other students are charged with misdemeanors.
Five of the students paid Eshaghoff between $1,500 and $2,500 to take the college placement exam for them, prosecutors said. Eshaghoff took the test for one of the other students for free.
The University’s Office of Public Affairs declined to comment on the situation, but confirmed that Eshaghoff attended the University. Eshaghoff, currently a sophomore at Emory University, spent one year at the University of Michigan before transferring.
According to Eshaghoff’s entry in the University’s MCommunity directory, he was in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Eshaghoff was listed on the Mary Markley Residence Hall e-mail list and on the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity rush 2010 e-mail list.
Jeremy Gurwitch, president of the University’s chapter of AEPi, declined to comment on the situation, and said none of the fraternity members knew Eshaghoff well.
Eshaghoff’s attorney Matin Emouna said Eshaghoff would plead not guilty.
In a statement to The New York Times, Henry Grishman, superintendent of Jericho Public Schools in Jericho, N.Y., said it is likely that this is not the first time cheating on standardized tests has occurred.
“As the competition between kids for scholarships and college entrance has increased, the likelihood of kids looking for ways to beat the system — to cheat — has increased,” Grishman told The New York Times.
Tom Ewing, a spokesman for Educational Testing Service — the company that administers the SAT — told the Times that the testing company can’t alert colleges when students cheat because of privacy laws. Instead, the company simply informs the students and the schools that the scores have been withdrawn.
Each year, out of the 2.5 million SAT exams administered, about 1,000 SAT scores are withdrawn. Ninety-nine percent of withdrawals are because of cheating, Ewing told the Times.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.