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Press Release

Canadian Parent in College Admissions Case Sentenced

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Canadian man was sentenced to prison today for paying approximately $200,000 to conspire with others to secure his children’s admission to college by cheating on their college entrance exams.

David Sidoo, 61, of Vancouver, Canada, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to three months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay a fine of $250,000. In March 2020, Sidoo pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. 

In 2011, Sidoo agreed to pay $100,000 to co-conspirator William “Rick” Singer to have another co-conspirator, Mark Riddell, secretly take the SAT in place of his older son. The following year, Sidoo agreed to pay $100,000 to have Riddell take the SAT in place of his younger son. 

As part of the scheme, Sidoo engaged in various other types of fraud related to the college admissions and application process. In the summer of 2012, Riddell flew to Vancouver to take a high school exam for Sidoo’s older son. In the fall of 2013, Sidoo and Singer crafted a college application admissions essay for Sidoo’s son that falsely claimed that Sidoo’s son had been held up at gunpoint by members of a Los Angeles street gang and that he had then been rescued by a rival gang member. In 2015 and 2016, Riddell, Singer and Sidoo explored cheating on various graduate school admissions tests, although they ultimately did not pursue this plan. 

Singer and Riddell have previously pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the government’s investigation.

Case information, including the status of each defendant, charging documents and plea agreements are available here:

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Kristina O’Connell, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric S. Rosen, Justin D. O’Connell, Leslie A. Wright, Kristen A. Kearney, Karin M. Bell and Stephen E. Frank of Lelling’s Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated July 15, 2020