British Columbia

David Sidoo to plead guilty in college admissions scam

Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a sentence of 90 days in prison and a $250,000 fine for the Vancouver businessman and former CFL player.

Prosecutors have agreed to recommend sentence of 90 days in prison, fine of $250,000: court documents

David Sidoo leaves federal court following a hearing on March 15, 2019, in Boston. Sidoo is expected to plead guilty to charges stemming from him paying for someone to pose as his two sons to write college and high school exams. (Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe/The Associated Press)

Vancouver businessman David Sidoo will plead guilty to paying $200,000 US to have someone take a college entrance exam in place of his two sons as part of an admissions cheating scheme, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

The former CFL player had been scheduled to go on trial in January alongside other prominent parents ensnared in the case, which has roiled the world of higher education.

He is now scheduled to plead guilty Friday in federal court in Boston to a mail and wire fraud conspiracy charge. An email was sent to his lawyer Wednesday seeking comment.

Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a sentence of 90 days in prison and a fine of $250,000, according to court documents.

Sidoo was among 15 wealthy parents still fighting the charges after their arrest last March in the sweeping scandal. Nearly two dozen other parents, including Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman, have already pleaded guilty.

Sidoo was accused of paying the admissions consultant at the centre of the scheme $200,000 to have someone pose as his sons using a fake ID to secure higher scores on their SATs.

The same person also took a Canadian high school graduation exam in place of his older son, authorities said.

Sidoo played professional football for six years for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and B.C. Lions, according to his website.

He was CEO of mining firm Advantage Lithium Corp. when he was arrested last year and was also a founding shareholder of an oil and gas company that was sold in 2010 for more than $600 million.

The test taker, Mark Riddell, has pleaded guilty and has been co-operating with investigators.