More Arrests in SAT Cheating Investigation
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 10:54 AM
Ten students accused of cheating on the SAT on Long Island turned themselves in to the authorities Monday morning, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office said, and three more arrests were expected.
Three test takers and seven who the authorities say paid for the test to be taken on their behalf have surrendered to investigators. Two more students, one test taker and one payer, citing medical issues, said they planned to surrender Monday. Another student accused of paying a test-taker declined to surrender, and arrest arrangements will be made later, investigators said.
Among those charged with taking the test for others were Joshua Chefec, 20, now a senior at Tulane, and Michael Pomerantz, 18, who attended Great Neck North High School; Adam Justin, 19, a graduate of North Shore Hebrew Academy; and George Trane, 19, a graduate of Great Neck South. Mr. Pomerantz, citing a medical condition, told authorities he would surrender Monday; the others turned themselves in Tuesday morning.
Also arrested were eight students charged with paying to have the test taken for them: five from Great Neck North High School, two from North Shore Hebrew Academy High School, and one from Roslyn. Their names were not released because they were minors. A ninth high school student with a medical concern will surrender on Monday.
An additional student, a senior at St. Mary's High School, a private school in Manhasset, declined to surrender; arrest arrangements were being made Tuesday.
The arrests are the second wave of students to face charges in a cheating scandal that has rattled some of Long Island’s top private and public schools. Test takers are accused of accepting payments of $500 to at least $3,500, according to people briefed on the investigation but not authorized to speak about the details.
In September, Nassau County officials arrested Sam Eshaghoff and six other students, all current or former students at Great Neck North High School. District Attorney Kathleen M. Rice said that between 2010 and 2011, the six students paid Mr. Eshaghoff, 19, of Great Neck, to take the SAT for them.
Mr. Eshaghoff, who is now a student at Emory University, graduated from Great Neck North in 2010. Prosecutors said he accepted payments of $1,500 to $2,500 per student.
Mr. Eshaghoff was charged with one felony count, scheme to defraud in the first degree, and misdemeanor charges, including six counts of falsifying business records and six counts of criminal impersonation.
He faces up to four years in prison if convicted. The six students, whose names were not released because they were minors, face misdemeanor charges.
Matin Emouna, Mr. Eshaghoff’s lawyer, has argued that the issue should have been handled in the school system and not in the courts.