David Sidoo sentenced to 90 days in prison for college admission scandal

Jul 15 2020, 2:02 pm

Prominent Vancouver businessman and philanthropist David Sidoo has been sentenced to 90 days in jail and fined USD $250,000 in a Boston federal court on Wednesday for his part in a massive college admission scandal.

According to the Department of Justice, Sidoo pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud, as well as money laundering conspiracy in a US federal court on March 13, 2020.

His sentence was handed down by US District Judge Nathaniel Gorton and Sidoo will have to adhere to conditions for one year after his release.

Sidoo wasn’t the only parent involved in the scandal to appear in court today, as Karen Littlefair of Newport Beach, California was sentenced this morning for wire fraud charges. She received four months in prison, a year of supervised release, and a fine of $9,500.

“Dozens of individuals allegedly involved in a nationwide conspiracy that facilitated cheating on college entrance exams and the admission of students to elite universities as purported athletic recruits were arrested by federal agents in multiple states and charged in documents unsealed on March 12, 2019, in federal court in Boston,” the DOJ said. “Athletic coaches from Yale, Stanford, USC, Wake Forest and Georgetown, among others, are implicated, as well as parents and exam administrators.”

Sidoo made a deal worth over USD $200,000 with William “Rick” Singer — a college consultant at the centre of organizing the fake admissions. The deal arranged to have Mark Riddell — a director of college entrance preparation at a private preparatory school and sports academy in Florida —  take the SATs and other high-level entrance examinations for Sidoo’s two sons.

The indictment revealed that in 2011, Sidoo provided Singer with copies of his older son Dylan’s driver’s licence and student identification to create a false ID for Riddell.

Sidoo also paid Singer to have Riddell take a Canadian high school exam for Dylan and the SAT for his younger son, Jordan, in 2012.

In 2016, Riddell wired USD $520 to China to pay for fraudulent drivers’ licences that he intended to use to pose as Dylan to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

The fake IDs were “not of high quality,” and Riddell decided not to take the exam for Dylan.

In 2018, Singer called Sidoo and they discussed Dylan’s intention to apply for business school, that same year he was arrested and charged. He would plead not guilty, but would eventually change the plea.

This led to him being stripped of the Order of BC, the province’s highest honour.

In a statement regarding its decision, the provincial government said the Provincial Symbols and Honours Act governs nominations, appointments, resignations, and terminations in the Order of BC.

According to the act, the chancellor of the Order may terminate a person’s membership on the recommendation of the advisory council and with the approval of the executive council.

This process is initiated when a member of the order is convicted of a criminal offence or when their conduct undermines the credibility and integrity of the order.

With files from Eric Zimmer. 

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