19-year-old Sam Eshaghoff is alleged to have taken the SAT test for at least 6 students from Great Neck North HS in Long Island, NY. Flying from Emory University in Atlanta, GA to Long Island, NY, Eshaghoff was reportedly paid between $1,500 and $2,500 per student for whom he produced top-tier SAT scores of 2220, 2210, 2140, 2180, and 2170—out of a possible 2400.
To put this into perspective, the average SAT score entering Harvard College is between 2090 and 2390. One of the Great Neck students who graduated last year now attends Arizona State University, a notorious party school with an average SAT score of approximately 1642. Another is at University of Colorado at Boulder, ranked 5th on Newsweek’s list of “50 Druggiest Colleges”.
Each student registered to take the SAT test at a different school where they would not be recognized. Eshaghoff would then show for the test with a doctored New York State driver’s license displaying his photo and the registered student’s name.
The cheating scandal was revealed after Great Neck HS faculty overheard rumors of students contracting someone else to stand in for their tests. According to the prosecution, school administration then pinpointed 6 students who “had large discrepancies between their academic performance records and their SAT scores.” When officials searched for the person in the fake ID photo, they matched it to Eshaghoff, a Great Neck alumnus himself.
Two of those 6 students—who have not been identified due to their age—were accepted to Tulane University in New Orleans, but those acceptances have since been rescinded. The other colleges where the Great Neck students are currently enrolled have not yet commented on what disciplinary action will be taken.
Eshaghoff has been charged with scheming to defraud, falsifying business records and criminal impersonation. If convicted, he could face a sentence of up to 6 years. Eshaghoff denies all criminal charges.
According to MN criminal defense attorney Avery Appelman, the charges seem excessive. “This story caught my attention when I heard the students had been arrested. I couldn’t imagine what laws would govern this sort of thing in Minnesota. Criminal impersonation is applicable, but it will be a stretch for the New York DA to prove ‘scheming to defraud’ and ‘falsifying business records’.”
New York Post
New York State Legislature