Man Deported to China in Test-Taking Scandal

Via Shutterstock.

Via Shutterstock.

After an attempt to cheat his way into the graduate schools of top universities — including Penn and others in the Ivy League — Biyuan Li has found himself ordered deported back to China.

Li was sentenced to five years probation and deported to China immediately for his part in a large college admissions testing scam, Reuters reported Wednesday. Li was convicted by a federal judge on counts of conspiracy, making and using forged passports, wire fraud and mail fraud, court documents reveal.

Li pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud in July 2014, court documents show. Authorities say he contacted a service based in China so that he could have an imposter take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE); Li sent his Chinese passport to the service so that a fraudulent copy could be manufactured for the imposter’s use.

Further, Li attempted to have the exam results sent on his behalf to many top American graduate programs at schools such as Penn, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Northwestern, Brown and others, the documents revealed.

The imposter who took Li’s exam, Han Tong,  is the named lead defendant among many others due to his role in organizing a ring of fraudulent testing, Reuters reports. Authorities say Tong, who pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, set up at least 10 fraudulent exams and obtained seven counterfeit passports for imposters to use, Reuters adds.

Tong himself reportedly used fake exam scores obtained through the Chinese service to get accepted into the University of Pittsburgh, where, once accepted, he helped run the operation from the United States. For four years between 2011 and 2015, the paid imposters organized by the service allegedly took fraudulent SAT, GRE and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exams, Reuters reports.

The imposters and those they claimed to be were all charged in the alleged scheme, Reuters adds. Tong himself awaits a November sentencing date, Reuters reports, at which point he could face a maximum of 55 years in jail in addition to a financial hit of up to $1 million,

Another Philly Educator Charged in Cheating Scandal

2015_01_07_PSSA-DavisORourke-400x400The former principal at Alain Locke Elementary School has been charged with “creating an environment ripe for cheating” on state assessments — the eighth Philly educator to face court in the long-running scandal.

Lolamarie Davis-O’Rourke, who was principal at the school from 2009 to 2012, faces one count each of tampering with public records or information; forgery; tampering with records; and criminal conspiracy.

The press release from Attorney General Kathleen Kane reports:

The Criminal Prosecutions Section presented evidence of criminal activity before a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the charges being filed today against Lolamarie Davis-O’Rourke, 43, 716 Saddlebrook Drive, Williamstown, New Jersey.

The grand jury found that while principal at Alain Locke Elementary School from the 2009-’10 to 2011-’12 school years, Davis-O’Rourke allegedly created an environment ripe for cheating on the annual PSSA by: proctoring students to change answers from wrong-to-right, directing teachers to help students switch answers and rewrite written responses; and changing the locks to a storage room so that only she and the building engineer could access stored test booklets.

Davis-O’Rourke also changed answers and instructed some of her staff to correct wrong answers, according to the presentment.

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Principal, 4 Teachers Charged in Cheating Scandal at Philadelphia School

As expected, charges were announced today in an investigation into cheating at Philadelphia schools. The principal of Cayuga Elementary School and four teachers there have been charged in the cheating scandal, the Inquirer’s Kristen Graham reports. The school is in Hunting Park.

Action News says the attorney general’s office alleges the teachers gave test answers to students, changed answers and “improperly reviewed PSSA questions prior to tests.”

The Inquirer first reported on cheating at Cayuga in 2012. The paper said principal Evelyn Cortez, who was charged today, told teachers to “go through and make sure no questions are left blank” on state achievement tests.

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Philly Cheating Scandal Drawing National Spotlight

The national media has suddenly taken notice of Philadelphia’s cheating scandal, in which more than 130 educators are accused of helping, er, improve the local results of standardized tests. Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office is mulling criminal charges in the matter.

The New York Times calls it “one of the largest such cheating scandals in the country.”

Some administrators were giving answer keys to teachers who passed them on to students. In other cases, principals took completed exams home at night and doctored the answer sheets. And in some schools, teachers and administrators gathered secretly in conference rooms with test booklets, pencils and erasers and changed wrong answers.

“Any time you’ve got cheating going on by adults, that’s egregious,” said Michael A. Davis, general counsel to the Philadelphia school district, who described some of the findings of the inquiry.

The tests spanned three years, from 2009 to 2011, and involved 138 educators at 27 schools, three of them public charter schools.

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