EXCLUSIVE: How The Long Island SAT/ACT Cheating Scam Works

Plot Involved Playing Test Scores Off Each Other; DA: 35-40 More Arrests Coming

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New details, exclusive to CBS 2, emerged Thursday about the broadening investigation into Long Island’s college admissions cheating scandal.

Reporter Jennifer McLogan has learned why multiple stand-ins took both SAT and ACT exams at multiple schools and how they got away with it.

A private eye and defense attorney have proof the cheating probe is widening.

“We’ve had other suspects contact us,” McLogan was told.

They were recently approached by new suspects — targets of Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s ongoing college admissions exams investigation. The men already represent Great Neck North High School graduate Sam Eshaghoff, the accused mastermind of the impersonation-for-hire-scam.

When asked if Eshaghoff is involved in the widening scandal, attorney Matin Emouna said, “He is not involved in this widening scandal at all. He was just the poster boy for what had happened.”

Sources told McLogan that 35 to 40 additional students in at least five schools may have paid thousands of dollars to “stand-ins” to take not only the SAT, but also the ACT, a standardized test growing in popularity in our area.

WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs On The Story

McLogan has learned exclusively how both tests played off one another to catch the crooks.

Here’s how it worked: The SAT cheater would take a test for himself and get a low score. The second time the cheater would hire a stand-in, who, in turn, would get a high score. That discrepancy would be flagged and the test cancelled.

When that happens the cheater would switch to the ACT and hire a high-scoring stand-in from the start to avoid the flagging process.

The ACT would certify the single high score and colleges would receive only that score. The SAT score would be withheld by the student.

“Millions of kids take the SATs and ACTs every year. The message needs to be sent loud and clear: if you’re going to cheat you’re going to be caught and there will be consequences,” Rice said back on Oct. 20.

At a recent State Senate hearing security measures and lax oversight of the high stakes tests were blasted. The Educational Testing Service then brought in the former head of the FBI.

“It took this for this to hire somebody of the quality and high standards of a Louis Freeh to try to clean this mess up,” private investigator Les Levin said.

McLogan has learned the additional arrests will include students who paid others to take their tests, those who took the tests and the cash, and others who created fake IDs.

Nassau district attorney investigators are backing away from a specific time frame for arrests, as they wait for additional information from the ACT.

Please leave a comment below…

  • The Realist

    Doesn’t their families’ vast wealth exempt them from all laws??

  • EssaySnark

    Makes the Chinese students who have their essays written for them and falsify transcripts not look quite so bad; see article on that here: http://chronicle.com/article/Chinese-Students-Prove-a/129628/

  • buddha

    agree wtih diver and jp muggs.

  • suzeeque

    No, all these kids think they are entitled to go to a good school and can buy their way in! They have no scruples, and if they sink this low now, what can we expect from them in the future? It’s shameful. And criminal. Shame on them, and their parents.

  • Jo Barnett

    @meme…what are you..12 years old or just mentally challenged. I see your posts on here all of the time, but you never have anything remotely intelligent or on-topic to say. Stop playing on mommy’s computer and do your algebra homework.

  • Meme Meyagi

    what is done about osama obama hussein fake birth certificate?

    • John Saxon


  • Long Island Parent

    He was only trying to help his juniors get into college. There’s nothing wrong with being a good sport.

    • deena

      @Long Island Parent: good sport? are you serious? He was motivated by greed, pure and simple; he did it for the money. It saddens me that with your mindset, you have offspring. Ugh!

  • jp muggs

    Name names, please. Let’s out the names of each student who is a cheater so the community and the colleges can know their lack of character. Throw every one of them in jail, too. This is an staggeringly serious breach of one of the most important mechanisms determining who gets to attend our most prestigious colleges. The owners of the SAT business entity should be hung by their ballz for not having in place unassailable security mechanisms. Period. God bless.

    • Meme Meyagi

      we will start by hanging you first

  • Carla Jen McCarthy

    God almighty! I just took the SAT on saturday and sunday and it was annoying. I hated it but i got through it.

  • Murray Polner

    Why do we need these tests? They do not predict success in college or in life.I suspect the sponsoring organizations exist because they exiss, providing good salaries, pensions, mortgages, vacation,s and the like. Let’s get rid of their tests!

  • diver

    Esmerelda, your argument makes no sense. What they did was illegal. Comparing one crime or the motivations for comitting a crime to another is meaningless. What they did was wrong and the people involved should be held accountable.

  • truth

    these tests are overrated! i remembered taking the sat nearly two decades ago! i studied my brains off and did really well. in reality, what’s the point??? over 90% of the crap on the exam are useless in life. memorizing the dictionary??? i haven’t used 90% of those words since i entered college.

    • t dubs

      it’s a standardized exam so colleges can compare people from different schools. i agree that 90% of the crap is useless, but if you can learn it and other people can’t, it shows in some ways that you are smarter than the person who didn’t do as well.

  • Esmerelda

    All these kids did was want to go to school.
    There are much worse crimes happening, like
    sending soldiers to a useless invasion in the
    Middle East – now, that is a crime against humanity.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live