Montreal

Concordia student and tutor face criminal charges for allegedly cheating on exam

Abdullaziz Almuhaidib, 24, is accused of conspiracy and "personation at examination" for allowing his tutor to write an exam on his behalf on April 27, court documents show.

University spokeswoman confirms administration flagged case of identity fraud to police

Concordia University flagged a case of identity fraud to police after a tutor allegedly passed himself off as a student during an exam last spring. (Marcelo del Pozo/Reuters)

A 24-year-old Concordia University student and his tutor are facing criminal charges for allegedly cheating on an exam. 

Court documents show that Abdullaziz Almuhaidib is accused of conspiracy and "personation at examination" for allowing his tutor to write an exam on his behalf on April 27. 

His tutor, John Karras, faces four charges, including identity fraud, conspiracy, using a forged document and impersonating someone at an exam.

Karras, 27, works at Montreal Tutoring, which promotes itself as "Montreal's premier tutoring agency focusing on Concordia University & John Molson School of Business courses."

He declined to comment when reached over the phone by CBC News.

CBC News has not be able to reach Almuhaidib.

A spokeswoman for Concordia University declined a recorded interview, but agreed to speak with CBC News over the phone.

"We flagged a case of identity fraud to police, and police are dealing with the matter as they see fit," said acting spokeswoman Cléa Desjardins.

When asked why the university decided to go to police with the cheating case, rather than deal with it internally, she replied that identify fraud is "a very serious issue." 

Desjardins would not say which program Almuhaidib was studying in, or whether he would be facing any other sanctions from the university. 

The two men are expected to be arraigned in court on Dec. 8.

A photo from Montreal Tutoring's website shows John Karras, who faces charges of conspiracy and using a forged document for allegedly cheating on an exam. (Mtltutoring.com)

Did you know? 

Passing yourself off as someone else during a school exam — or agreeing to let someone do that on your behalf — is illegal in Canada.

Section 404 of the Criminal Code states: 

"Every one who falsely, with intent to gain advantage for himself or some other person, personates a candidate at a competitive or qualifying examination held under the authority of law or in connection with a university, college or school or who knowingly avails himself of the results of such personation is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction."

Rarely used part of Criminal Code

In this case, both the tutor and the student are accused under section 404. It is a section of the Criminal Code that is rarely used, according to Montreal criminal defence lawyer Eric Sutton.

"It's the first time I've heard of an actual criminal prosecution under that section," Sutton said. 

Because it's a summary offence, though, the maximum sentence the pair faces would be six months in jail or a fine. 

"It's not considered, in the larger scheme of things, the most serious of crimes. In fact, the people who are charged are not even fingerprinted," Sutton said.

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