Nassau DA: 13 additional arrests in SAT cheating scandal
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced this afternoon that 13 additional arrests have been made in the SAT cheating scandal.
Rice stated that the investigation into the scandal revealed that more than 40 students either took the test for someone else or paid someone to take it for them.
Four students who investigators say were paid to take the SAT exam for other students now face felony charges. Rice says those four defendants took payments of $500-$3,500 to stand in for students on SAT or ACT exams.
The defendants include Joshua Chefec, 20, a graduate of Great Neck North High School, Adam Justin, 19, a graduate of North Shore Hebrew Academy, Michael Pomerantz, 18, who attended Great Neck North High School, and George Trane, 19, a graduate of Great Neck South High School.
Chefec, Justin, and Trane surrendered this morning and were arraigned on charges including scheme to defraud in the first degree, falsifying business records in the second degree, and criminal impersonation in the second degree. They each face up to four years in prison if convicted.
Officials say Pomerantz is expected to surrender Monday due to a medical condition.
Nine other students were charged with misdemeanors in the scandal for allegedly paying other students to stand in for them.
Chefec's attorney, Brian Griffin, says this is not the type of case that should be in the criminal justice system.
The case reportedly includes two students from Queens and at least five Nassau schools. The schools include Great Neck North, Great Neck South, Roslyn High School, North Shore Hebrew Academy High School and St. Mary's in Manhasset.
The investigation began at Great Neck North High School where officials say graduate Samuel Eshaghoff, 19, was getting paid between $1,500 - $2,500 to take other students' SAT tests. Eshaghoff was charged in September along with six students.
Some students and parents at Great Neck South High School say they don't condone cheating, but understand how it could happen.
"People are saying that there is a lot of pressure to get into good colleges, so they feel like they need to get good test grades," says 10th-grader Josh Silverstein.
All of the students allegedly involved in the scandal pleaded not guilty today. Most of them will be back in court Friday.
For Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice's press conference on the SAT cheating scandal, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra on Ch. 612.
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