Test-taker in college scheme suspended from prep school
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A Florida prep school administrator has been suspended from his job after he was accused of taking college admissions tests for students as part of a scheme in which wealthy parents bribed coaches and others to get their children into elite universities.
IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, said late Tuesday that Mark Riddell has been suspended indefinitely while it investigates the case. The school’s website said he was the director of college entrance exam preparation and had been at the academy since 2006.
Riddell, 36, didn’t return several phone calls and an email inquiry. Online records did not show if he has an attorney to comment for him.
Riddell was charged Tuesday in federal court in Boston along with nearly 50 other people including corporate executives and actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. He faces charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering.
Court documents show no connection between Riddell’s work for the academy and his alleged work for the college admissions scheme, which federal prosecutors say was orchestrated by California-based admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer. There’s nothing in the court papers to suggest he took tests on behalf of any IMG students.
In exchange for bribes from Singer, test administrators for the SAT and ACT exams allowed Riddell, a Harvard grad, to take the tests in place of students or replace their answers with his own, according to court documents.
In one case last July, Riddell flew from Tampa to Houston where he got the ACT exam from a test administrator and completed the test in his hotel room before giving it back to the test administrator. Riddell was typically paid $10,000 per test, court document said.
IMG Academy bills itself as the world’s largest sports academy. The school was founded by renowned tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, who opened the academy in 1978 as a boarding school for tennis players. The school now has programs for baseball, football, basketball, and golf.
This story has been corrected to say the charges and suspension came Tuesday, not Monday.