Canadian businessman charged in college admissions scam pleads not guilty

/ CBS/AP

Latest on college admissions cheating scandal

Boston — A Vancouver businessman pleaded not guilty Friday to paying $200,000 to have someone take a college entrance exam in place of his two sons, and his attorneys said he looks forward to contesting the charges in court. David Sidoo is one 50 people charged in a massive college admissions cheating scandal that also ensared actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.

Sidoo, who also played in the Canadian Football League, appeared in federal court in Boston and was released on a $1.5 million secured bond.

Prosecutors say Sidoo paid someone to pose as his sons to get them higher scores on the SATs. He's also accused of hiring someone to take a Canadian high school graduation exam in place of his older son.

Sidoo, 59, is charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. The judge restricted his travel to the U.S. and Canada.

David Sidoo (2nd R) — along with attorneys Richard Schonfeld (L), David Chesnoff and Martin Weinberg (R) — speaks outside Boston federal court after pleading not guilty to charges of participating in the largest college admissions fraud scheme in U.S. history in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. March 15, 2019. ROSS KERBER / REUTERS

Huffman, who was released on $250,000 bond on Tuesday, appeared in a Los Angeles court on Friday, CBS Los Angeles reports. She and her husband, actor William H. Macy, were seen walking hand-in-hand into court. Macy has not been charged in the case.

At least nine athletic coaches at elite universities and 33 parents, many of them prominent in law, finance, fashion, the food and beverage industry and other fields, have been charged.

Authorities say the parents paid an admissions consultant to rig standardized test scores and bribe college coaches and other insiders to get their children into selective schools.

CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman told "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday these parents could be facing "serious time" in prison. "We're dealing with mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit these crimes," Klieman said.

The consultant, William "Rick" Singer, pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges in federal court Tuesday in Boston. Singer's attorney told reporters that he plans to cooperate fully with prosecutors.

The former sailing coach at Stanford University also pleaded guilty this week to accepting bribes to help get students into school by pretending they were athletic recruits.

College admissions scam exposes racial disparities

"He will be returning to his home in Canada and asks people not rush to judgment," his lawyers said in a statement.

Advantage Lithium, a lithium exploration and development company, said this week that Sidoo has taken a temporary leave of absence from his role as president.

East West Petroleum Corp. also said Sidoo is no longer president and CEO of the company, but remains a director.

First published on March 15, 2019 / 9:55 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

David Sidoo -- along with attorneys Richard Schonfeld, David Chesnoff and Martin Weinber -- speaks outside Boston federal court after pleading not guilty to charges of participating in the largest college admissions fraud scheme in U.S. history in Boston

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