September 27, 2011
Seven Arrested for Great Neck North High School SAT Cheating Ring
Eshaghoff impersonated six students and took the SAT for them in exchange for cash
MINEOLA, NY – Nassau County
District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced today that seven people have been
arrested, all current or former Great Neck North High School students, for
their roles in a cheating ring that paid a college student thousands of dollars
to impersonate students and take the SAT for them.
Rice said that between 2010 and
2011, six students at Great Neck North High School paid Samuel Eshaghoff, 19, of
Great Neck, to take the SAT for them so they would achieve a higher score.
Eshaghoff, now a student at Emory University who completed his freshman year at
the University of Michigan and a 2010 Great Neck North graduate, accepted
payments of between $1,500 and $2,500 per student.
Eshaghoff was arrested this
morning by DA Investigators and is charged with Scheme to Defraud in the First
Degree, six counts of Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree, and six counts of Criminal
Impersonation in the Second Degree. He faces up to four years in prison if
The six students who hired
Eshaghoff, all from Great Neck, were also arrested this morning by DA
Investigators and face misdemeanor charges. They are not being identified due
to their ages and the nature of the charges. Eshaghoff and the six students
will be arraigned later today in First District Court, Hempstead.
Rice said that in early 2011,
Great Neck North High School faculty members heard rumors that students had
paid a third party to take the SAT for them. Administrators at the top-ranked
high school identified the six students by reviewing records of students who
had taken the test at a different school and had large discrepancies between
their academic performance records and their SAT scores.
The students registered to take
the test at a different school where their faces would not be known to the
proctors, and the third party, identified by investigators as Eshaghoff,
presented unofficial identification with his photo and the paying student’s
name on it. He also took the test at no charge for a female student.
On at least one occasion, Eshaghoff flew back home from college primarily to
impersonate two students and took the SAT twice in one weekend.
Office is currently investigating whether similar SAT scams have 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
Educational Testing Service
(ETS), the non-profit organization that administers the test, told prosecutors
that it conducted its own investigation of the matter, but was unable to
provide some investigation documentation to prosecutors citing a computer
crash. ETS does not notify colleges or high schools when students are suspected
of cheating, but instead cancels their scores and offers suspected cheaters a
refund, a free re-test, or the opportunity to arbitrate.
“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. “These arrests should serve as a warning to those taking the SAT this
Saturday that if you cheat, you can face serious criminal consequences. I want
to thank the Great Neck School District for their invaluable assistance with
Chief Diane Peress and Assistant
District Attorney Kristofer Kasnicki of the Economic Crimes Bureau are prosecuting
the cases for the DA’s Office. Eshaghoff is represented by Matin Emouna, Esq.,
Student 1 is represented by Luigi Gigliotti, Esq., Student 2 is represented by
Robert Gallo, Esq., Student 3 is represented by David Korson, Esq., Student 4
is represented by Kevin Keating, Esq., Student 5 is represented by Christopher
Gomoka, Esq., and Student 6 is represented by Richard Hendler, Esq.
These charges are only
allegations and all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven