DA widens probe of SAT cheating

Jessica Ablamsky

The Nassau County District Attorney’s Office is investigating cheating on SAT tests at three other public high schools and one private school, following the filing of charges against seven current and former Great Neck North High School students, DA spokesman Chris Munzing said Tuesday.

Munzing left open the possibility that Great Neck South is among the three other schools being investigated for SAT cheating, and that 19-year-old Sam Eshaghoff, who allegedly took the SATs for six North High students, is being investigated for impersonating additional students.

School board President Barbara Berkowitz and Superintendent Tom Dolan addressed the scandal Oct. 17 at what was the first school board meeting since the high profile arrests.

“We’ve also been the target of some negative publicity lately,” said Berkowitz, noting the district had received multiple inquiries from the press.

Berkowtiz praised district students and faculty who “we are all extraordinarily proud of.”

Though some might be “surprised at how open” the Great Neck School District was in the wake of possible SAT cheating, Dolan said, “That’s just what we do.”

Rather than being the district with the SAT cheaters, Dolan said Great Neck is the school district that saw a practice it knew was wrong and took steps to stop it.

“We are the district that might actually play a part in leveling the playing ground for students across the country,” he said.

Great Neck North High School alum Sam Eshaghoff was arrested Sept. 27, along with six current and former North High students, for their part in an alleged SAT cheating ring.

For a fee of between $1,500 and $2,500, Eshaghoff allegedly impersonated students and took the SATs for them. He was charged with scheme to defraud in the first degree, falsifying business records in the second degree, and criminal impersonation in the second degree. He faces up to four years in prison.

His next court date is Nov. 28.

The students who allegedly hired Eshaghoff were charged with misdemeanors and face up to a year in jail. Munzing said New York State law prevents the DA’s office from releasing any information about minors, including charges.

Reach reporter Jessica Ablamsky by e-mail at jablamsky@theislandnow.com or by phone at 516.307.1045 x203

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Jessica Ablamsky

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