Court docs lay out case against Vancouver businessman in college admissions scandal
VANCOUVER – A new indictment filed in the United States goes into great detail about the case prosecutors have built against Vancouver businessman David Sidoo, who stands accused of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to have people write entrance exams and essays to help his two sons get into U.S. universities.
Thirty-five wealthy families, including some well-known celebrities, have been caught up in the college admissions scandal, with some already pleading guilty and being sentenced to jail time.
The new indictment names Sidoo along with 18 other defendants, including Full House star Lori Loughlin, and it includes a dozen counts ranging from money laundering to wire fraud and bribery.
Court documents outline Sidoo’s alleged interactions with William ‘Rick’ Singer who prosecutors say masterminded the scheme to help wealthy families guarantee their children’s entrance to prestigious schools.
In one case, prosecutors say Singer falsified an application essay describing Sidoo’s younger son’s purported internship with an organization that worked to combat gang violence in Los Angeles.
“The essay falsely claimed that SIDOO’s younger son had been held at gun point by gang members in Los Angeles. Singer e-mailed the essay to SIDOO,” reads the indictment. “SIDOO wrote back with minor changes to the essay, and asked, 'can we lessen the interaction with the gangs. Guns…? That’s scary stuff. Your call you know what they look for.'”
The allegations against Sidoo span several years, beginning in 2011 when prosecutors allege he agreed to pay Singer $100,000 to have someone else write the SAT for his oldest son.
Prosecutors say Sidoo emailed copies of his son’s identification so Singer could create false ID for Mark Riddell, the man accused of writing the tests.
According to the documents, Singer advised Riddell “not to obtain too high a score, because Sidoo’s older son had previously taken the exam himself and obtained a total score of 1,460 out of a possible 2,400.
Prosecutors say Riddell scored 1,670 on the test they accuse him of writing on behalf of Sidoo’s son.
The same man is also accused of writing the SAT for Sidoo’s younger son, but this time prosecutors allege Singer directed him “to obtain a high score because Sidoo’s younger son had not previously taken the SAT.”
The documents claim Riddell scored 2,280 out of a possible 2,400 on that test.
Singer has already pleaded guilty for his role in the college admissions scandal.
Sidoo, a former CFL football player, strongly denies the allegations and has pleaded not guilty.
If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in U.S. prison.