A Vancouver businessman and philanthropist is among those arrested in the United States in connection with the college admissions scandal involving some of the most elite universities in the world.
The U.S. Department of Justice arrested several people allegedly involved in a conspiracy to cheat on college entrance exams and the admission of students at such schools as Yale, Stanford, University of Southern California, and Georgetown.
David Sidoo, 59, was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud on March 8 in San Jose, Calif., and appeared in U.S. District Court this week.
Court documents reveal Sidoo allegedly paid $200,000 to have someone take standardized tests for his two sons as part of the admissions process to U.S. universities.
It started in 2011, when Sidoo is accused of paying $100,000 to have someone take the SAT in place of his older son. That September, he allegedly sent the individual his older son’s driver’s licence and student identification card via email so a false identification could be created.
In December, the individual, who is not identified in the documents, flew from Tampa, Fla., to Vancouver to take the SAT. The individual was instructed not to score too high on the exam because Sidoo’s son had previously taken the exam himself and scored a 1460 out of a possible 2400. The individual took the exam on the following day and scored 1670, then returned to Tampa the following day.
Later that month, the individual submitted the test results to Chapman University in Orange, Calif., on behalf of Sidoo’s older son and was granted admission in January.
Sidoo also allegedly purchased plane tickets for an individual to fly from Tampa to Vancouver in June 2012, and agreed to pay them to take the Canadian high school graduation exam in place of his older son.
In the fall of 2012, Sidoo is accused of agreeing to pay $100,000 to have someone take the SAT in place of his younger son. Similarly, he is alleged to have emailed them his younger son’s personal details to create a false identification, and to have purchased a plane ticket to fly them from Tampa to Los Angles in November 2012 to take the test.
This individual was asked to obtain a high score because Sidoo’s younger son had not already taken the exam. They scored 2280 out of a possible 2400.
A date for Sidoo’s first appearance in federal court in Boston has not yet been scheduled.
According to the University of British Columbia’s website, where he is listed on the Faculty of Education page, Sidoo graduated from UBC in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. He led the UBC Thunderbirds as a defensive back to their first Vanier Cup National Championship in 1982. The Sidoo Field at Thunderbird Stadium is named for him.
He later played professionally with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and was inducted in the BC Football Hall of Fame.
Sidoo is the president and CEO of the Vancouver-based East West Petroleum Corporation, and runs a charitable organization. He has received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Order of BC.