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N.Y. Authorities Arrest Seven Accused Of Running SAT Cheating Ring

Seven former and current students from a prestigious New York high school have been arrested for allegedly running an SAT cheating ring.

The Nassau County district attorney announced today that Samuel Eshaghoff, a 19-year-old Emory University student, took the SAT exam for at least six John L. Miller Great Neck North High School students. Each one of those students paid Eshaghoff between $1,500 and $2,500. Eshagoff graduated from Great Neck in 2010.

"These arrests should serve as a warning to those taking the SAT this Saturday that if you cheat, you can face serious criminal consequences," District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement.

Here's how the DA describes what they allege happened:

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.

If convicted, Eshaghoff could face up to four years in prison. Eshaghoff's lawyer told the APhis client denies the charges against him.

The other six students, who were not named because they are minors, are facing misdemeanor charges.

Great Neck alums include film director Francis Ford Coppola and designer Kenneth Cole.

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.