After being named in 2019 as one of the dozens of people involved in a massive admissions scandal, Vancouver businessman and philanthropist David Sidoo has now had his Order of BC rescinded, the province confirmed on Friday, after he pleaded guilty to the charges earlier this year.
Sidoo was appointed to the Order of BC on July 26, 2016.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in a US federal court on March 13, 2020.
Sidoo allegedly 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 most recent indictment revealed greater detail about Sidoo’s involvement in the scandal and alleges 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.
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Singer drafted a falsified college application essay in 2013, stating Jordan was involved with an organization that worked to combat violence among gangs in the LA area.
“The essay falsely claimed that Sidoo’s younger son had been held up at gunpoint by gang members in Los Angeles,” reads the indictment.
When Sidoo received the essay from Singer via email, he wrote back with minor changes asking, “can we lessen the interaction with the gangs. Guns…? that’s scary stuff. Your call you know what they look for.’”
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.
In March of that same year, Sidoo was charged and pleaded not guilty in a Boston court.
In a statement regarding its decision on Friday, the provincial government said the Provincial Symbols and Honours Act governs nominations, appointments, resignations, and terminations in the Order of BC, the province’s highest honour.
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 Simran Singh