In a bizarre case of identity fraud, a group of 15 Chinese nationals in the U.S. and China have posed as other individuals to take college entrance exams. The scheme leveraged fake passports for identification in the hopes of obtaining student visas for entry to U.S. universities.
According to a report from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the U.S. Attorney’s office say the individuals in question, two of whom are living in Pittsburgh, defrauded Educational Testing Services and the College Board — the organizations that administer standardized tests — between 2011 and 2015. The fraudsters accomplished the feat by either directly taking the tests for others or paying others to take the tests.
Prosecutors in the case have revealed that some of the individuals in question had counterfeit Chinese passports made in China and sent to the U.S. From there, the fraudulent documents were used to fool administrators at testing centers in Pittsburgh and its suburbs.
The scheme targeted the SAT and other entrance exams for use at American universities. The 35-count indictment reveals that some of the defendants paid up to $6,000 for others in the U.S. to fraudulently take the SAT and other exams for them.
The scheme typically worked like this:
Student A solicits student B to take a test for them. Student B then accesses student A’s online ETS or College Board testing account and using both student A’s credit card and a fake passport bearing A’s likeness, buys a test to be taken in A’s name. Once student B — the impostor — takes the test, they access the score and send it electronically to a university in A’s name.
While the scheme has been exposed, this serves as another reminder of the importance of proper ID vetting. There is no word on how many students were able to successfully gain acceptance into American universities, but the investigation is ongoing.