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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Chinese National Sentenced to Home Detention for Role in Test Taking Scheme

PITTSBURGH - A Chinese national has been sentenced in federal court to six months home detention on her conviction of conspiracy in relation to a scheme involving the fraudulent taking of college entrance exams, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Chief United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti imposed the sentence on Yue Zou, 22, of Blacksburg, Virginia.

According to information presented to the court, Yue Zou paid two individuals to take the SAT and TOEFL examinations on her behalf. Using counterfeit passports that contained Zou’s identifying information and the impostor’s photograph, two test-takers earned scores on the two college entrance examinations, which were then used by Zou to earn admission to Virginia Tech University. Zou was also able to obtain an F-1 Visa to enter the United States as a student on the basis of that fraudulent admission.

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Conti stated that her sentence reflected the seriousness of the offense in that it allowed people who otherwise would not have been eligible to enter the U.S. to enter and also brought unfairness to the American education system.

Assistant United States Attorney James T. Kitchen prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and the Department of State for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Zou.

Updated April 20, 2016