Chinese Students Charged With Cheating on U.S. College Entrance ExamsPHILADELPHIA, May 29 (UPI) — Reports of Chinese students cheating their way into top U.S. universities or getting expelled for unethical academic conduct is tarnishing their once positive image.
The U.S. Justice Department said in a statement released Thursday that it has charged 15 Chinese nationals with conspiracy, counterfeiting foreign passports, wire and mail fraud, all undertaken so impostors could take U.S. standardized tests on behalf of the defendants.
The plot took place from 2011 to 2015 in western Pennsylvania and other locations, the BBC reported.
The suspects’ ages range from 19 to 26, and most are still residing in the United States near major universities. They coordinated impostors to take the SAT, TOEFL, or Test of English as a Foreign Language, as well as the GRE for graduate school admission.
The Chinese nationals provided their accomplices with fake passports so that they could sit for the exams.
Suspects living in the United States have been detained, and all have been ordered to appear in court. Three defendants have returned to China.
All face serious charges, with each defendant facing up to 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both for each wire and mail fraud count, and 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both for each count of counterfeiting foreign passports.
Special Agent in Charge John Kelleghan for Homeland Security Investigations of Philadelphia said, “[The] students…were also cheating their way through our nation’s immigration system.”
On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported a U.S. education firm specializing in Chinese enrollment estimates 8,000 Chinese students were expelled from U.S. universities in 2014.
The number was based on official U.S. data and a survey of 1,657 students expelled from U.S. schools.
The Journal reported 80 percent of Chinese students expelled were asked to leave based on poor academic performance or unethical academic conduct.
Chen Hang, an officer at the WholeRen education firm, said, “Chinese students used to be considered top-notch, but over the past five years their image has changed completely — wealthy kids who cheat.”