A new indictment filed Oct. 22 against Vancouver’s David Sidoo says college admissions scandal ringleader Rick Singer drafted a false application essay that claimed Sidoo’s son Jordan worked as an intern with an anti-gang violence organization in Los Angeles.
Sidoo was arrested in March in San Jose and released on bail. He pleaded not guilty to charges that he paid Singer $200,000 to have someone else write U.S. college entrance exams for his two sons. If convicted, Sidoo could spend 20 years in jail.
The October 2013 essay falsely claimed that Jordan Sidoo had been held up at gunpoint by gang members in Los Angeles. After Singer emailed a draft to David Sidoo, he wrote back to Singer with minor changes.
“Can we lessen the interaction with the gangs. Guns …? That’s scary stuff. Your call you know what they look for,” the indictment alleges Sidoo wrote.
“The essay, without the reference to guns, was later submitted as part of Sidoo’s younger son’s application for admission to multiple universities.”
David Sidoo remains charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. Neither of Sidoo’s sons is charged. His lawyer, David Chesnoff of Las Vegas, says Sidoo maintains his not guilty plea and is preparing for trial.
“These are mere allegations from the mouths of admitted fraudsters,” Chesnoff said by email. “Mr. Sidoo looks forward to his day in court.”
The new indictment adds charges to other defendants, but not Sidoo, as prosecutors are increasing pressure on them in order to secure plea bargains or trial dates. Fifty-one people have been charged, with approximately half pleading guilty or agreeing to plead guilty.
The indictment also alleges that Sidoo asked Singer if professional test-taking impostor Mark Riddell could take either the Graduate Management Admission Test or Law School Admission Test on behalf of his oldest son, Dylan. Riddell agreed to pay Singer and Singer agreed to pay Riddell $100,000. But the plan went awry.
“Singer and Riddell researched the security measures in place for both exams. On or about April 28, 2015, Singer told Sidoo that their plan to have Riddell take the LSAT in place of Sidoo’s son was ‘[n]ot happening due to fingerprinting’ requirements on the exam,” the indictment says.
The indictment says that in mid-December 2016, Riddell wired $520 through Western Union to China to buy fraudulent drivers’ licences so he could pose as Dylan Sidoo for the GMAT. Riddell ultimately decided not to take the exam, because the fake ID was “not of high quality.”
Singer, Riddell and Steven Masera, the accountant at Singer’s bogus charity, The Key World Foundation, have all pleaded guilty and agreed to co-operate with prosecutors.
Other new information in the indictment states that, on Dec. 7, 2011, Singer e-mailed Masera receipts from Riddell’s trip to Vancouver. Singer told Masera that the receipts were “[ejxpenses to pay back “mark riddell” and that he should “bill david sidoo” for the expenses, as well as for Riddell’s airfare from Tampa to Vancouver.
The indictment reiterates the allegation that Riddell flew to Vancouver on June 8, 2012 and posed as Dylan Sidoo on June 9, 2012 “in order to secretly take the Canadian high school graduation exam in his place.”
The indictment does not include the proper name for the test or the venue that Riddell attended in June 2012.
Dylan Sidoo was accepted at Chapman University in Los Angeles, but transferred to University of Southern California from where he graduated. Jordan Sidoo graduated from University of California Berkeley. Both also attended the posh St. George’s private school in Dunbar and they co-founded the Disappears.com Vanish encrypted messaging app.
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