Vancouver businessman David Sidoo pleads not guilty in college admissions scandal

Mar 15 2019, 9:38 pm

A prominent Vancouver businessman and philanthropist linked to a massive college admissions scandal south of the border pleaded not guilty in connection with the case in a US courtroom this week.

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Vancouver businessman David Sidoo was named in an indictment by the US Department of Justice, which said that that dozens of individuals, including Sidoo, were involved in a nationwide conspiracy “that facilitated cheating on college entrance exams and the admission of students to elite universities as purported athletic recruits.”

The father of two is accused of paying someone $100,000 to take the SAT test for his older son, and another $100,000 to have someone take the SAT for his younger son.

On Friday, a statement from Sidoo’s lawyers said he has pleaded not guilty in a Boston court.

Sidoo “looks forward to fully contesting the charges in a well-respected court and not in the media,” the statement said. “He will be returning to his home in Canada and asks people not to rush to judgement.”

CNN report said the admissions scandal consisted of two parts.

The first involved parents who “allegedly paid a college prep organization to take the test on behalf of students or correct their answers. Secondly, the organization allegedly bribed college coaches to help admit the students into college as recruited athletes, regardless of their actual ability,” the report said.

The report said a total of 50 people were charged in the investigation, including SAT/ACT administrators, one exam proctor, nine coaches at elite schools, one college administrator, and 33 parents.

According to court documents, Sidoo played a part in carrying out the “conspiracy” by:

  • Cheating on the SAT and ACT by having (unnamed) secretly take the tests in place of actual students or replace the students’ responses with his own;
  • Submitting the fraudulently obtained scores as part of the college admissions process, including to colleges and universities in the District of Massachusetts.

On Thursday, Sidoo stepped down from his post as President and CEO of East West Petroleum Corp in light of the investigation.