MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Two more students surrendered to police Monday morning in a growing SAT/ACT cheating scandal in Nassau County.
A total of 20 students are now facing criminal charges.
1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports
Michael Pomerantz, 18, faces felony charges for allegedly being paid $500 to take the college entrance exam for another student.
The other defendant who turned himself in Monday faces a misdemeanor charge for allegedly buying those test taking services. His name is not being released because of his age, but his attorney didn’t waste any time getting the ball rolling.
“I don’t know what the district attorney will do next in this case, but we are ready to fight,” Kevin Keating told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Nassau County prosecutors have so far identified 15 alleged test-buyers and filed felony charges against five so-called imposters, including 19-year-old North Shore Hebrew Academy graduate Adam Justin.
Justin, as well as two other accused test takers, Joshua Chefec and George Trane, surrendered Friday.
The SAT-ACT test taking process is now under review by a state Senate subcommittee on higher education.
The accused students’ families and lawyers downplay the seriousness of scandal and are concerned about an overzealous prosecution. They want schools — not courts — handling cheating scandals. However, the investigation is rocking some parts of the affluent North Shore,where students attend some the nation’s elite high schools.
“I don’t think this matter should be criminalized. I think it should remain in the schools and the discipline should be in the schools,” resident Vincent Gerardi said.
“I think it’s very serious. I think they should be punished for their crimes, held accountable, absolutely,” added Kathryn Augeri.
“There is a reason our criminal justice systems is separate and apart from our school system,” Chefec’s attorney, Brian Griffin, said. “This is where the matter belongs.”
Some students disagree.
“I think it is actually a serious case and they should be tried,” one student said. “It’s keeping other kids out of college and not fair. It’s denying people a chance they worked hard for.”
“We understand this is a nationwide epidemic. It has nothing to do with Nassau County, and that’s what we’ve been saying all along,” Eshaghoff attorney Matin Emouna told McLogan.