NEW YORK (CBS 2) — For the first time, the public is hearing from one of the teenagers accused in the SAT test taking scam that has rocked Long Island.
Police said Sam Eshaghoff, was paid to impersonate students and take their college entrance exams. So far, 20 students have been arrested in the scandal.
The 19-year-old college student is charged with felony crimes after prosecutors alleged high school students paid him and others to take their college entrance exams. The payment was allegedly as much several thousand dollars per test.
In an exclusive interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes, Eshaghoff boasts that the price paid by the students was worth every penny.
“I mean my track record speaks for itself. Like, if you know somebody’s so stellar at doing something, so flawlessly, without one exception — it goes without saying that’s a reliable service,” Eshaghoff told 60 Minutes’ Alison Stewart.
Of the more than 20 students arrested in the scandal, it is Eshaghoff who is the poster boy. He scored 2100 out of 2400 on his own SAT exam, and is accused of taking at least 15 tests for money.
Eshaghoff told 60 Minutes what he did for each student was more than take tests — he claimed he saved lives.
“I mean a kid who has a horrible grade point average, who no matter how much he studies is gonna totally bomb this test. By giving him an amazing score, I totally give him this like a new lease on life. He’s gonna go to a totally new college, he’s gonna be bound for a totally new career and a totally new path in life,” Eshaghoff said.
The scam was uncovered when teachers at Great Neck North High School compared some students’ academic performance to unusually high test scores. Now Eshaghoff and other test takers await their days in court, while some students who allegedly hired them are charged with misdemeanors.
The idea of students and even their parents getting away with such an act angers State Senator Ken LaValle.
“There are parents that are complicit in this. They are involved. You can’t tell me that students are walking around with $3,500,” LaValle said.
“A lot of kids will do whatever it takes to get ahead,” Eshaghoff said.
Eshaghoff could face four years in prison if convicted. The case prompted many to demand the test-taking system be reformed and tightened up nationwide to root out more cheaters.
The entire interview can be seen this Sunday on 60 Minutes on CBS 2-HD.
What do you make of Eshaghoff’s assertion that he saved lives? Share your thoughts in the comments section below…