Vancouver Man Faces New Money Laundering Charge in College Admissions Scandal

April 10, 2019 Updated: April 10, 2019

Vancouver businessman David Sidoo faces an additional charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering for his alleged role in a college admissions scandal in the United States.

In a new indictment from the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts today, Sidoo is accused of wiring about $100,000 in January 2013 from an account in Canada to an account in California.

The indictment says the money was in the name of college-prep company The Key, and meant to be in exchange for William (Rick) Singer’s facilitation of a SAT cheating scheme for Sidoo’s younger son.

An assistant for Sidoo’s lawyer, Richard Schonfeld, said the attorney was declining comment on the new charge.

David Sidoo, of Vancouver, Canada, leaves following his federal court hearing
David Sidoo, of Vancouver, Canada, leaves following his federal court hearing in Boston on March 15, 2019. (Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via AP)

Sidoo, a 59-year-old former Canadian Football League player and well-known philanthropist, was previously charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with the scandal.

He pleaded not guilty last month and was released by the federal court in Boston on a secured bond of $1.5 million and his travel was restricted to Canada and the United States.

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An indictment released March 12 alleged Sidoo paid $200,000 in total for someone to take an entrance exam on behalf of both his sons, and that he also paid an undisclosed amount for someone to fly to Vancouver and take a high school test.

St. George’s School says a review of its records from 2012 indicates no school or provincial exams were written at the school by the student in question on or around the date referenced by the indictment.

At least nine athletic coaches and 33 parents, including Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, are among those who have been charged in an investigation dubbed Operation Varsity Blues.

No students were charged. Authorities have said that in many cases the teenagers were not aware of what was going on.

Sidoo, known for his philanthropic causes in British Columbia, was CEO of Advantage Lithium and is a former Canadian Football League player for the B.C. Lions and Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Advantage Lithium said on March 14 that Sidoo has taken a leave of absence from his executive role as company president and that his responsibilities as CEO have been assumed by another executive on an interim basis.

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An indictment alleges Sidoo paid $100,000 in 2011 to have an individual secretly take the Scholastic Assessment Test, or SAT, in place of his older son. It also asserts that Sidoo emailed copies of his son’s driver’s licence and student card for the purpose of creating a falsified identification card for the individual.

The individual, whose name is redacted, flew from Tampa, Fla., to Vancouver to take the SAT on behalf of Sidoo’s son, the indictment alleges.

The indictment says the test score was emailed to an administrator at Chapman University, a private California university, where Sidoo’s son was admitted and later enrolled.

The indictment also alleges Sidoo agreed to pay another $100,000 in 2012 for someone to take the SAT in place of his younger son.

It claims that in 2013 and 2014 the falsified SAT scores obtained on behalf of his younger son were sent to universities, including Yale and Georgetown, as part of his college applications. The score was also sent to the University of California-Berkeley, where the younger son was accepted and later enrolled, it says.

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Sidoo’s legal team has said the two sons have not been accused of any impropriety.

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