Eleven current and former students of North Shore high schools on Long Island in New York were arrested Nov. 22 and face criminal charges for “choosing to scam the system” by cheating on college admission tests, Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.
Two more suspects are expected to surrender Nov. 28, Rice spokesman John Byrne said.
The widening investigation found nine more students paid four test takers to impersonate them and take the SAT and ACT exams between 2008 and 2011. It brings the total number of students implicated in the cheating probe to 20, Rice said.
“It’s fair to say that this was so systematic that people knew who to go to when they needed a high score,” Rice said at a news conference in Mineola. “It was a business, and it was run like a business.”
The cheating scandal has rocked some parts of the affluent North Shore, where students attend some of the nation’s top-ranked high schools.
Rice identified the test takers as Joshua Chefec, 20, a graduate of Great Neck North; Adam Justin, 19, a graduate of North Shore Hebrew Academy High School; George Trane, 19, a graduate of Great Neck South High School; and Michael Pomerantz, 18, who attended Great Neck North.
Chefec, Justin, and Trane were led in handcuffs to their arraignment in First District Court in Hempstead, where they pleaded not guilty to charges of scheme to defraud, falsifying business records, and criminal impersonation. They were released without bail. Chefec attends Tulane University; Justin, Indiana University; and Trane, Stony Brook University.
Pomerantz is expected to surrender Nov. 28 because of a medical condition, the district attorney’s office said. The defendants face 4 years in prison, if convicted.
Eight other students, accused of paying others between $300 to $1,000 to take the tests, arrived at court Nov. 22, hiding their faces under hats, hoods, and scarves, and were arraigned on misdemeanor charges.