8 plead not guilty in Chinese test-taking scheme for visas

A group of Chinese citizens jump into an awaiting car at the side door after they were arraigned on charges in federal court, Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Pittsburgh. Four of fifteen Chinese citizens indicted in May were arraigned Wednesday morning in Pittsburgh. The indictment unsealed last month says the suspects either took the tests on behalf of others or paid to have that done for them so they could obtain student visas. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Eight of 15 Chinese citizens indicted in a conspiracy to take college entrance exams on behalf of others or pay to have their tests taken so they could obtain student visas pleaded not guilty before a federal magistrate Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh allege they scammed tests run by Educational Testing Service and the College Board — such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT — for more than $5,000 per exam.

The alleged scheme involves tests administered in Pittsburgh and its suburbs since 2011. Some of the defendants eventually enrolled in out-of-state schools, though investigators and defense attorneys have refused to supply specifics.

Two students arraigned Wednesday were enrolled at Virginia Tech and a third is accused of having someone else take a test whose results were sent to Northeastern University.

Two others scheduled for arraignments Wednesday had their court appearances postponed, two others have yet to be scheduled for arraignments and three others charged have yet to be identified as their names have been redacted in the mail and wire fraud indictment announced late last month.

 

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