Educator: Pressure On Kids Massive; Attorney: District, Not Courts, Should Rule

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Seven former and current students of a prestigious Long Island high school were arrested Tuesday in an alleged SAT cheating ring.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced that six Great Neck North High School students had paid 19-year-old Samuel Eshaghoff thousands of dollars to take the SAT for them.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera with the details of the case

Eshaghoff, who graduated from the high school in 2010 and is currently enrolled at Emory University in Atlanta, was paid between $1,500 and $2,500 per student. He has been arrested and charged with scheme to defraud, falsifying business records and criminal impersonation.

Eshaghoff faces up to four years in prison if convicted, but his attorney said there’s no way this alleged scam should end up in a court room.  Bail was set at $1,000 for Eshaghoff.

“Even if something happened it happened within school grounds, under age, should be handled administratively within school. Across the U.S. no one has ever had a case go to criminal court due to cheating or alleged cheating in an exam,” Matin Emouna told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

Photo Gallery: Suspects Arrested In SAT Scam

Rice said the six students accused of hiring Eshaghoff have also been arrested and face misdemeanor charges. They have not been identified because of their ages and all six of them were arraigned and released on their own recognizance.

“Colleges look for the best and brightest students, yet these six defendants tried to cheat the system and may have kept honest and qualified students from getting into their dream school,” Rice said.

Rice said the students registered to take the test at a different school so they would not be known by the proctors and then Eshaghoff would present unofficial identification with his photo and the paying student’s name on it.

1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria With More On The Story

Rice said the students got caught because their SAT scores were so much higher than their school grades, some with as high as 2200 out of a perfect 2400, reports CBS 2’s McLogan. Rice is recommending that all schools who know a student who has cheated on the SAT notify the college the student has applied to.

“The goal here is not only to hold those accountable for their wrongdoing, but to level the playing field for all of the students who play by the rules,” Rice said.

Eshaghoff apparently also took the test at no charge for a female student.

An investigation is currently underway into whether similar scams occurred in at least two other Nassau County high schools, as well as allegations that Eshaghoff took the SAT exam for students of other high schools.  Rice would not name those schools.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell On The Story

The Great Neck School District released a statement saying it “does not tolerate cheating” and remains “committed to cooperating with law enforcement in the matter.”

“It is our hope that the actions currently being taken by the DA’s Office will serve to bring an end to any dishonest practices which may have placed students at an unfair disadvantage and will also bring to light any shortcomings in the security of the SAT testing system,” district officials said in the statement.

Great Neck educator Barbara Rothman tried to explain how this could have happened.

“There is a tremendous amount of pressure on these students in a town like Great Neck,” Rothman told McLogan.

Many students were defensive.

“I don’t think they should be arrested. I think the school should be taking care of it, not the court,” Nicole Nicholis said.

Rice demanded Education Testing Service, the non-profit that administers the test, make other immediate security changes like matching photos and handwriting. Late Tuesday night the ETS said it will comply immediately.

If convicted, what do you think is the appropriate punishment in this case? Let us know below…

Comments (226)
  1. Fairfax Mom says:

    I’m still trying to figure out how he passed off as a woman. Perhaps he had on a hijab?

  2. Been There Before says:

    The judge will see that these kids are under a lot of pressure to get good grades and acceptance into college. The charges will be dropped. Those are good kids. Not trouble makers!

  3. Rocky says:

    To all those that defend liberalism (which is a brain disorder-AMA), one of the most famous Liberal/progressives of all time was Adolf Hitler. He even got his road map for his master race program from the roots of eugenics. Eugenics was the result of progressive liberals from California.
    Stalin, Mao, Mugabe and Odinga are also considered to be of the liberal mind.
    You’ll have to do the research, a European Study have found that most liberals suffer from what was termed – acute grey matter deficiency !
    This leads to the inability to fully exercise the cognitive process.
    This has been found to occur more in American Liberlism which may be based on Mein Kemph.
    Who cares about lying and cheating in school. They are the future lawyers and politicians of the World. As for Princeton, who cares what they say. Princeton gave the World the Socially Promoted Michelle Obama. Yes I read her entrance paper.

  4. Steve says:

    To whom did this test-taker have any duty in this scenario?

    Anyway, notice how fervently worried they feign to be about maintaining a level playing field when it suits them? Yet, they have no problem with affirmative action, adding admission points based on the color of someone’s skin, judging not by character, but by color.


  5. NoMoreExcuses says:

    I am so tired of people trying to make excuses for bad behavior and rebuking the justice system for making this a crime. If I have someone sit and take my boards, it is called fraud. If I go on to get my license and then kill someone, I’m criminally negligent of homicide. At what point do students have to become responsible and accountable for their actions? According to research, at age 13 to 14, they have the cognitive ability to make the right decisions three out of four times and at 17-18 students possess 100% cognitive ability over their actions and choosing between right and wrong. Yet, in this society we like to make special laws to make them feel special; all of which just boils down to age discrimination.

    It is not the parents, teachers, schools or societies shortcomings that cause these young adults to cheat. Students cheat, because they want to game the system and lack the integrity and honesty of character. They have been taught all of the same things as generations before them, but conscientiously choose a different path. In life each choice has a consequence, so enjoy the silver bracelets.

  6. Justin says:

    I’m glad they did it. You older people complaining about the lack of ethics know nothing of the onerous filtering mechanisms in modern society. The American dream is literally dead. Make ONE mistake in life and you’re ruined. You can’t go anywhere without your past following you. Remember all the stories of mail room workers that made their way to the executive suite? That would NEVER happen in a million years today.

  7. steve becker says:

    I think the correct punishment would be to give them jobs in the Obama administration. They apparently already know everything they need to know to work in the Chicago, I mean the Obama, White House

  8. Been There Before says:

    The judge will see that these kids are under a lot of pressure to get good grades and acceptance into college. The charges will be dropped. Those are good kids. Not trouble makers.

  9. Alum says:

    It’s no surprise to me. I see these children every day as they come into the office building where I work for their lunch. They are arrogant, loud, unruly, have no respect for the people who work in this building. They are the stereotype of privileged, spoiled, brats. And the school’s administrators seem powerless to control them.

  10. Milwaukeeroad says:

    Am I understanding that the perp repeatedly fooled the system and even took the SAT for a woman? OK, who’s asleep at the wheel with the testing service? Inexcusable. Unfortunately, society just may reward such ingenuity and bravado; plots in successful Hollywood movies have been based on far less. Striving for honor, dignity, and honesty means even less in America now. Of course, if there is no penalty for such deceitful behavior, what’s to discourage more of this in the future? All self-righteousness aside, dishonesty and deceit just ain’t cool. Drip, drip, drip…

  11. sad says:

    Teach kids morality? NO WAY that is for religious fanatics. Schools can only teach “values neutral” education so nobody might be offended by the ten commandments or something.
    I blame this on a society that has no moral standards at all. How can we expect our children to be moral? And TEACHERS were cheating on those “no child left behind” tests. What a great example.
    This guy is NOT the only one who is cheating, trust me on this. Many of those who are in the best schools manipulated the system, and when they graduate, they will have the power to manipulate your life as a politician.

  12. MIKE says:


  13. Sir Joe says:

    Samuel Eshaghoff should not be prosecuted, much less go to jail; he should be hired by a think tank to help solve the crisis that face this country.

  14. Matzah says:

    Hey, isn’t that Bernie Made-off’s grandson?

    What a handsome boy. His parents are so proud of his proven high IQ and his penchant for making money the old fashion way.

    They better serve kosher in the slammer or the ADL will get involved. Such a good boy. And those features, such a catch.

  15. dan pamintuan says:

    I hope he declared the income on his tax return or the IRS will be coming after him as well.

  16. Daniel Goodman says:

    While the alleged conduct is reprehensible, does a matter of impersonation in test taking rise to the level of criminal prosecution? With narcotics so pervasive and so many hardened criminals on our streets, perhaps those alleged to have taken standardized tests for others are best handled in civil courts rather than tying up all too limited police resources.

  17. White Rose says:

    These kids are victims of college admission quota reverse discrimination. They just want to go to a good college but their color is preventing them.

  18. Wannabee says:

    Damn he’s cute……he can “exam”ine me any day!!!!

  19. J says:

    On a similar note, why doesn’t the government pay for investigations as to whether people are abiding with the Limit 1 TV per household on deals at Best Buy? Then
    arrest the criminals!

  20. otbros says:

    The only purpose for the SAT test is to see which white male students get to go to college.

  21. Kahn Singh says:

    Is every infraction in school nowadays an arrestable offense?
    A world gone madd!

  22. frank says:

    Keep others from getting into their dream school?

    More like saved others from getting a nightmare loan, followed by a career as a gas station attendant.

  23. Truth Detector says:

    Tell me they’re getting refunds…

  24. Steve says:

    We won’t have to worry about SAT scores in California soon, they’re re-instating affirmative action based on sex & race. Those smartypants anglo & asian will now not be allowed to enroll.

  25. PhD Teacher says:

    Nasau County needsa new DA. These are not criminals but misguided high-school students. The appropriate thinng would have been for Rice to notify the school’s administrators and ETS.

  26. CitizenOfTheWorld says:

    Oh Lord. There are better ways to spend $2000. Not in a test scam.

  27. PhD Teacher says:

    Yes, coveted schools award scarce enrollment slots to those whom, among other things, perform well on the placement tests. However, the SAT and the other tests are not as important as they once were, and if the student cannot do the work comensurate with their test scores they flunk out and/or lose their scholarship. This does not qualify as a criminal offense unless, like Elliot Spitzer, the DA is seeking higher office. If you want to get a glimpse of how others view us, just take a look at this: Our country has gone from a Great Nation to a sad spectacle.

  28. Straightshooter says:

    REALLY not trying to be rude, but “so many bright students who are simply poor test takers” are talking themselves into the idea that there can be such a thing. You are average in intelligence, and it is indicated on a national exam of reasoning skills like the SAT. You have been told over and over that you are so “bright,” so when the scores come back mediocre, you’re convinced that there’s some sort of reason for it. “Poor test taker” is the reason you make up for that. If you were smarter, you’d do better on the test. People do perfectly fine on tests that they are prepared for, and you probably answered the questions correctly that you were prepared for. It’s just that you somehow have been told that everyone who does well in school is “bright,” when there are lots of factors (grade inflation being the main one) that are causing GPAs to be off the charts. Colleges NEED a standardized test to differentiate between the haves and the have-nots.
    The SELF-ESTEEM generation believes that everyone can be above average. Yeah, that makes sense. “Little Johnny is a poor test taker” has been spoon-fed to little Johnny by Mommy and Daddy (probably well-meaning, too!) for so long that it’s become an entitlement.
    The SAT is bar-none the most researched standardized test in the world. It is by no means perfect. But it doesn’t lie — average scores are indicative of average intelligence, all other things (like prep time) being equal. You can learn the test, but if your scores still don’t go up after that, stop hiding behind “I’m a poor test taker” and take a dose of reality.

  29. moonmac says:

    I’ve used cheat sheets. Never even imagined I could get arrested and sent to jail for it! This country is getting way out of control. Vote for Ron Paul before the power trip control freak do-gooder, tell you how to live know-it-all A-Holes totally take over!

  30. Emma Davidson says:

    I read a few days ago that some teachers were erasing the wrong answers and put the right answers to help the students to get better grades and they were commended for “helping” the students. Nice.

  31. moonmac says:

    I know we now live in a Police State but give me a break why are the freaking cops involved? Do you put everyone in jail that’s had a cheat sheet? Maybe we should have cops in the classroom to prevent peering at others work by macing students whose eyes wander!

  32. The Truth says:

    How come Black kids never have this problem?

    1. White Rose says:

      Because of the flawed quota system and reverse discrimination.

  33. qoemarie says:

    Some children have home training…other just grow up. Another purchased proud parent moment.

  34. zombierocket says:

    Cheating has become the norm… show me a kid that does not cheat…

  35. BJ says:

    Emory? This certianly proves that the SAT has little merit if a guy who can score 2200 chooses to go to college in the ‘hood.

  36. SerfCityHereWeCome says:

    Lol, trying to cheat on the SAT is like trying to cheat on a freakin civil service or Regents exam. What’s the point? It’s so ridiculously easy that it’s practically a free pass to the Ivy League for any B student. That said, if anything, these kids should get scholarships for somehow maintaining a shred of initiative after a dozen mind-numbing years in the goobermint school system.

  37. hazmat1211 says:

    Does that surprise people……There is more there that people really know. Overratred district. All crooks. NY State Education should investigate other things also.

  38. John Smith says:

    Jail time? Seriously?

    These people are seriously overreacting


    “Even if something happened it happened within school grounds, under age, should be handled administratively within school. Across the U.S. no one has ever had a case go to criminal court due to cheating or alleged cheating in an exam,” Matin Emouna told CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan.


  40. JOhn SMith says:

    Funny they put this guy in cuffs, but I know for a fact that three or four officers at one of our prestigious universities (Hmmm Academy) rigged a cadets grade from a c- to an F and nobody cares. In fact congressman and Pentagon Generals know this is true. The grade change was for punishment! In addition, they said Academu shredded the exam and would not allow said cadet to view the exam.. Hey Kid, be an officer and you can do what you want!

  41. R says:

    All of you commenting on this post are absolutely disgusting and should be ashamed that you’re stooping THIS low commenting on a girl that you don’t have a CLUE about. You don’t know her life or her relationships; so before you decide to go on a rampage about her, get your facts straight. As a woman myself I feel personally insulted that those thoughts would even come to your nasty ass minds. Grow a pair, maybe be concerned about the actual issue, and grow the hell up.

  42. pj says:

    Some of these remarks about the fact that these were Jewish kids are really anti-semitic. Jews have a right to cheat. How would you like to have Hitler make your family soap-on-a-rope?

  43. an episode from suits says:

    the story looks like it has been taken from the TV Series “Suits” too bad this is real. How come the cheat on this test??? All should be banned from studying or attending college. Lucky for them their rich parents will bail them out and make the charges disappear.

  44. Ken Frazier says:

    Perhaps Ms. Barbara Rothman comment that there is a tremendous amount pressure on these students would seem more appropriate, if she had said there is a tremendous among on pressure on all students who intend to go college when they sit for the SAT! And here is another example of how the heavy emphasis on testing is leading some students to take desperate measures to obtain a good score. These unfortunate individuals probably represent a very percentage of the population that cheats on these exams. One might suspect that students from wealthy families that can not successfully take these test have more than enough resources to avoid getting caught cheating on the any high stake exam. What greater evidence do we need to show that the emphasis on high stakes exams is not working the way it is designed too.

  45. Randy4 says:

    No surprise there – cheating is a Socialist Democrat method of “Leaving no child behind”, especially given the teaching prowess of our public schools.

  46. ultra-rightwinger says:

    Duuhh, I wonder what political party they would identify themselves with? C’mon, you know and I know that they would identify themselves with the party of amorality — and if you don’t know what party I am speaking of let me say that it is the party of Weiner.

  47. RufusVonDufus says:

    Is it true that the female student took him to the Y for lunch and that’s why she didn’t have to pay him money?

    1. Your not funny says:

      No, and that’s far from humorous

  48. Preston Madison says:

    I’ll answer the question asked. Fines and jail time sound fine to me.

    My guess is that all of the students were Caucasian. Since Caucasians seem to have a more difficult time getting into jails than non-Caucasians, let’s give some of these guys a break.

    Let’s see some prison quotas set for Caucasians.

    1. TheRealKingMax says:


      Let’s start filling that quota with YOU, biatch.

  49. It’s refreshing to see students cheating, rather than teachers

  50. MANNY says:


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