VANCOUVER — A Vancouver businessman and philanthropist is among nearly 50 people charged in what U.S. authorities are alleging is the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted.
David Sidoo, CEO of Advantage Lithium and a former B.C. Lions and Saskatchewan Roughriders player, is accused of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in Massachusetts.
None of the allegations has been proven in court and Sidoo’s lawyer says his client is presumed innocent.
An indictment alleges Sidoo paid $100,000 in 2011 to have an individual secretly take the SAT in place of his older son, and that the score was emailed to Chapman University in California where his son was admitted.
The document alleges that Sidoo paid another $100,000 in 2013 for someone to take the SAT in place of his younger son and that the score was sent to multiple universities including the University of California-Berkeley where he later enrolled.
At least nine athletic coaches and 33 parents including Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among those charged in the investigation, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues.
Sidoo’s lawyer, Richard Schonfeld, said the businessman “has been repeatedly recognized for his philanthropic endeavours, 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.”
Federal authorities say parents who have been accused in the alleged scam paid an estimated $25 million in bribes.
The coaches charged as a result of the investigation worked at such schools 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.
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