NEW YORK (PIX11)—Over a dozen new students paraded past reporters Tuesday morning, many covering their faces as they turned themselves in to be arrested and arraigned as part of the investigation into the ongoing SAT cheating scandal rocking the affluent towns of Long Island.
Adding on to the growing scandal, Nassau County's District Attorney Kathleen Rice alleged Tuesday the people who administer the SAT and ACT college admissions tests were turning a blind eye to cheaters while raking in millions of dollars every year.
The four charged were 20 year old Joshua Chefee, a graduate of Great Neck North High School, 19 year old Adam Justin, a graduate of North Shore Hebrew Academy, 18 year old Michael Pomerantz who attended Great Neck North High School, and 19 year old George Trane, a graduate of Great Neck High School South. All were charged with felonies for their part in accepting up to $2500 cash for taking the SAT or ACT for underperforming students, coming from some of the most elite schools in the county.
DA Rice said, "This is a crime. You're talking about criminal impersonation, fake ID's and thousands of dollars changing hands."
The fraud was initially spotted by Administrators at Great Neck North High who heard rumors of super smart test takers being paid cash by fellow students in search of a perfect 2400 on the SAT. A comparison of grades versus an unusually high SAT score identified the possible cheaters.
DA Rice railed against the lax security plaguing the big business of standardized tests. "Our office has exposed a gaping hole in standardized test taking and the total absence of consequences for those caught cheating."
But defense attorney Melvin Roth, who represents a 17 year old student said of the arrests of students for paying test takers, "This is overkill. If they're guilty they deserve to be treated within the school district."
Defense attorneys representing the 9 minor students charged with misdemeanors sounded off against the arrests. Each is accused with paying hundreds or thousand to pump up low sat or act scores. Great Neck student Sam Eshakoff was The first identified for earning up to $3500 a pop for test taking. His attorney says the cheating is a nationwide issue.
"We understand that this is a nationwide epidemic it has nothing to do with Nassau County. That's what we've been saying all along," insisted Matin Emonua.
A recent study found 59% of kids have cheated in the past year. And while SAT and ACT test administrators initially said the cheating was isolated, they've now reversed course and now former FBI director Louis Freeh has been hired to lead an investigation.