The schools caught in the college admissions bribery scandal have so far mostly involved private universities like Stanford, USC, and Yale. However, one family was accused of getting their daughter into UCLA via the soccer team with a bribe Facebook stock, and now fellow California public school UC Berkeley has been implicated, too.
Canadian businessman David Sidoo was arrested on March 8 in San Jose and arraigned last Friday in Boston on one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Federal prosecutors released a redacted indictment of Sidoo, accusing him of making two payments of $100,000 in 2011 and 2012 for an unidentified person to pose as each of his two sons and take a series of American and Canadian standardized tests in their place. Sidoo pleaded not guilty and was freed on $1,500,000 bond; he has a court date in Boston on April 18.
According to prosecutors, Sidoo’s older son Dylan scored 1460 out of 2400 on his first try on the SAT, so David told the person he allegedly paid to take the tests not to make Dylan look too smart. The father allegedly footed the bill for the person’s trip from Tampa to Vancouver to take the tests. The test taker improved the score, and Dylan wound up going to Chapman, a private school in Orange County.
(IMG Academy Director Mark Riddell is not named in Sidoo’s indictment, though he lived near Tampa and was arrested for allegedly bribing test proctors for almost a decade in order to take standardized tests in place of high school students.)
Shortly after David paid the test taker to help his older son get into Chapman, he once again agreed to pay $100,000 plus travel expenses for the same person to take the SAT and a Canadian high school graduation exam for his younger son Jordan. Unlike Dylan, Jordan hadn’t yet taken the SAT, so David allegedly told the test taker to get him a great score. His 2280 was shopped to Georgetown, Yale, and Berkeley, where he enrolled in 2014. Jordan also came to Berkeley as a member of the rowing team. He’s listed on the 2014-15 roster, and a school spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times that Jordan was an “active member” of the team.
Jordan appears to have been a part of his high school rowing team, and while 125 pounds is quite small for a rower, he was apparently the coxswain. Berkeley confirmed that it would launch an investigation into Jordan’s admission and try to determine whether someone on the athletics side was bribed as part of Sidoo’s recruitment for crew. Via the Times:
“We are aware of the indictment and are looking into the allegation,” the campus said in a statement Monday afternoon. “Integrity in our admissions process is critically important. Students who do not adhere to that value may have their admissions offer revoked, enrolled students may be dismissed, and diplomas conferred may be revoked.”