GREAT NECK, N.Y. — The Long Island student at the center of an SAT cheating scandal spoke out in his own defense, telling 60 Minutes he gave struggling students a “new lease on life” by taking the test on their behalf, according to a sneak-peek on myfoxny.com.
In a segment to air Sunday, Sam Eshaghoff, 19, said his intent was to aid struggling students by significantly enhancing their SAT or ACT scores, for $2,500 a pop.
With high test scores, the underachievers were “bound for a totally new career and a totally new path in life,” he said.
He dismissed allegations by Nassau County district attorney Kathleen Rice that he deprived deserving students of admissions spots in selective colleges.
“I feel confident defending the fact that [my clients] getting into the schools that they ended up getting into didn’t really affect other people,” he said.
Eshagoff’s cheating racket came to light in September, when he was arrested along with 20 others from surrounding schools. He told 60 Minutes he would take a plea deal in which he would avoid jail time by helping students succeed the hard way– by tutoring them for free.