Sentencing date postponed for Tampa Bay man accused of taking tests in college admissions scandal


(WFLA)- The Tampa Bay man at the center of a college admissions scandal was scheduled to be sentenced in federal court on Thursday, but the date was pushed back to November 1.

Mark Riddell pleaded guilty in April to taking college entrance exams for students in exchange for cash to help wealthy parents get their kids into elite universities across the country.

The Harvard graduate oversaw college entrance exam preparation at IMG Academy, a Bradenton school founded by renowned tennis coach Nick Bollettieri that bills itself as the world’s largest sports academy. Riddell has since been fired.

Riddell admitted to secretly taking the SAT and ACT for students in a scheme involving celebrities, business executives and athletic coaches at elite schools such as Stanford and Yale.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Rosen said that prosecutors will seek a sentence at the low end of the guidelines, which call for 33 to 41 months in prison, because of his cooperation.

Authorities say the admissions consultant at the center of the scheme, Rick Singer, bribed test administrators to allow Riddell to pretend to proctor the exams for students so he could cheat on the tests. Singer typically paid Riddell $10,000 per test to rig the scores, prosecutors said.

Riddell was among 50 people charged in the scam, including Desperate Housewives actress Felicity Huffman, Full House star Lori Loughlin, along with Loughlin’s fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli.

In addition to the exam-rigging scheme, prosecutors say parents paid Singer tens of thousands of dollars to bribe coaches into pretending that their kids were athletic recruits to boost their chances of getting accepted.

Some of the parents, including Felicity Huffman, have pleaded guilty to various charges, while others, including Loughlin, are fighting the allegations.

Singer flipped on the parents and helped the FBI build the case against for a chance at a lenient sentence. He pleaded guilty to charges including racketeering conspiracy.


Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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