Two months after initial arrests were made, individuals continue to trickle into the Nassau County district attorney's office on implications that they cheated on their college entrance examinations. As of Monday morning, ten individuals were arrested on accusations of cheating on the SAT exam. On Tuesday morning, 20 individuals had been implicated for cheating on the SAT exam.
Initial arrests were made in late September, when Nassau prosecutors arrested 19-year-old Sam Eshaghoff, a recent graduate of Great Neck North High School, who was charged with taking the college admissions exam for at least six current Great Neck North students. The string of arrests involved students from some of the best public high schools in the New York area.
The case blew wide open soon after Eshaghoff was arrested. Eight students charged with paying to have the college entrance exam taken for them and were apprehended from around Long Island communities, according to the New York Times: five students from Great Neck North High School, two from North Shore Hebrew Academy and one from Roslyn.
Eshaghoff, who is currently a student at Emory University, has been charged with one felony count, scheme to defraud in the first degree, and misdemeanor charges, including several counts of criminal impersonation. If convicted, Eshaghoff would face up to four years in prison.
Bruce Barket, a high profile criminal defense attorney on Long Island, told IBTimes that the likelihood of Eschaghoff facing prison time was virtually impossible. He said unless there is proof that the children were organizing and racketeering, the individuals implicated in this case were likely to walk away without facing prison time.
This is a glorified cheating scandal, said Barket. In the end, these students were involved in a cheating scandal; they're not criminals. Matin Emouna, Eshaghoff's lawyer, agrees, according to a report from the New York Times. He believes he issues should have been handled in the school system and no the courts.
Students allegedly paid test-takers $500-$3,500. As previously reported in the IBTimes, the scandal highlights Long Island's ethnic complexity. Of the initial 13 arrested, all but one of the students was Iranian-American, a group that makes up about one-third of the school district's population.