VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A local businessman is among dozens of people accused of using their fame, money and power to get their kids into elite American colleges.
Advantage Lithium CEO David Sidoo is a well-known philanthropist who graduated from UBC. He also played for the BC Lions and the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
He’s accused of paying $200,000 to have someone else take the SAT in place of his two sons.
Sidoo, 59, was a 2016 recipient of the Order of B.C.
Accusations against Sidoo
Related to older son:
According to an indictment, Sidoo is accused of paying $100,000 to have someone secretly take the SAT in place of his older son. An indictment claims he sent copies of his son’s driver’s license and student ID card for this to happen.
The indictment alleges claims Sidoo and others conspired to commit mail and wire fraud by “cheating on college entrance exams.”
It’s alleged the person who took the SAT was told “not to obtain too high a score because Sidoo’s older son had previously taken the exam himself and obtained a total score of 1460 out of a possible 2400. The test was later given a total score of 1670.
The indictment accuses Sidoo and others of “submitting the falsified test scores to colleges and universities as part of the college admissions process.”
Sidoo’s son was eventually admitted to Chapman University, which is a private university in Orange, California.
Sidoo is also accused of paying someone to secretly take a Canadian high school graduation exam in 2012, in place of that same son.
Related to younger son:
The indictment also alleges Sidoo paid $100,000 in 2012 to have someone secretly take the SAT in place of his younger son, providing similar documents in order for him to produce identification for this to happen.
This time, the person taking the SAT was told to “obtain a high score because Sidoo’s younger son had not previously taken the SAT.” The total score came out at 2280 out of a possible 2400.
Sidoo’s younger son was later accepted into the University of California – Berkeley.sidoo_redacted_indictment
David Sidoo received the Order of B.C. in 2016. (Source: orderofbc.gov.bc.ca)
In a statement, Sidoo’s lawyer, Richard Schonfeld did not confirm or deny the allegations.
“David Sidoo has been repeatedly recognized for his philanthropic endeavors, which is the true testament to his character. The charge that has been lodged against David is an allegation that carries with it the presumption that he is innocent. We look forward to representing our case in court, and ask that people don’t rush to judgment in the meantime.”634C9804-B098-4C5C-B9A9-59AFC754C998-HXTMP
Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among about 50 wealthy and influential people accused of bribing college coaches and testing centre officials to help get their children into elite colleges and universities.
At least nine athletic coaches and 33 parents, many of whom are prominent in law, finance or business, are among those charged. Dozens were arrested.
The coaches worked at schools such as Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, Wake Forest, the University of Texas, the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles. A former Yale soccer coach pleaded guilty and helped build the case against others.
The $25-million bribery case was code-named Operation Varsity Blues.
Prosecutors accuse parents of paying an admissions consultant from 2011 through last month to bribe coaches and administrators to label their children recruited athletes to boost their chances of getting into college. The consultant is also accused of hiring ringers to take college entrance exams, and paid off insiders at testing centers to alter students’ scores.
Parents reportedly spent anywhere from $200,000 to $6.5 million to guarantee their children’s admission.
“For every student admitted through fraud, an honest and genuinely talented student was rejected,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling.
He says the investigation is still open and it’s believed other parents were involved. Lelling adds the schools themselves are not targets of the investigation.
No students are charged and it’s believed in many cases, they weren’t even aware of possible fraud.