David Sidoo (The Associated Press)

David Sidoo (The Associated Press)

B.C. businessman David Sidoo gets 3 months behind bars for college admissions scam

Sidoo was sentenced for hiring someone take the SATs in place of his two sons

A former Canadian Football League player was sentenced Wednesday to three months in prison for hiring someone take the SATs in place of his two sons, while a California mother got five weeks behind bars for paying $9,000 to have online classes taken on her son’s behalf.

David Sidoo, who played professional football for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and BC Lions, lowered his head into his hands and cried as U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton chided him for his actions. Sidoo told the judge he’s “deeply ashamed.”

“I make no excuses. I broke the law. I pled guilty to a crime and now I must pay for my actions,” Sidoo said.

Earlier Wednesday, Karen Littlefair of Newport Beach, California, asked U.S District Judge Allison Burroughs for leniency before being sentenced to more than a month in prison for the online course scam. Littlefair said she was “truly sorry” and called the experience a “nightmare” for her family.

“I acted out of love for my son but I ended up hurting my son greatly,” said Littlefair, 57.

Both Sidoo and Littlefair appeared before the Boston federal court judges via videoconference because of the coronavirus pandemic.

They are among more than 50 people charged in the college cheating scheme involving wealthy parents and athletic coaches at elite universities across the country. Authorities say the parents worked with the admissions consultant at the centre of the scam, Rick Singer, to have someone cheat on their kids’ exams or get them admitted to selective schools with fake athletic credentials.

Sidoo was CEO of mining firm Advantage Lithium Corp. when he was arrested last year. He was also a founding shareholder of an oil and gas company that was sold in 2010 for more than $600 million.

The Vancouver businessman paid Singer $200,000 to have someone pose as his sons using a fake ID to secure higher scores on their SATs, prosecutors said. Sidoo also worked with Singer to craft an admission essay for his son with a bogus story about the teen being held at gunpoint by Los Angeles gang members and saved by a rival gang member named “Nugget,” prosecutors said.

After Littlefair’s son was put on academic probation by Georgetown University, she hired Singer’s company to take four online classes on his behalf so he could graduate in 2018, prosecutors said. Three of the courses were taken through Georgetown, prosecutors said, while one was taken online at Arizona State University and then transferred to Georgetown.

Littlefair demanded a discount on the cheating after the person earned a C in one of the courses, authorities said.

“Kind of thought there would have been a discount on that one. The grade was a C and the experience was a nightmare,” she told Singer’s accountant in an email, according to court documents.

Burroughs told Littlefair she taught her son “it’s OK to cheat, it’s OK to take shortcuts.”

“You’re supposed to get more by earning it and working for it and I think that’s a lesson your son needs to learn and sadly he’s going to learn it the hard way here,” the judge said.

Nearly 30 parents have pleaded guilty in the case.

Others include “Full House” actor Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, who admitted to paying half a million dollars to get their two daughters into the University of Southern California as fake crew recruits.

They are scheduled to be sentenced next month. If the judge accepts their plea deals, Loughlin will be sentenced to two months in prison and Giannulli will be sentenced to five months.

Alanna Durkin Richer, The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

The Kitimat River in July. (Clare Rayment photo)
Good News, Kitimat!

Bringing some local good news to your week

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross has been named critic for Environment and Climate Change Strategy for the BC Liberals. (Peter Versteege photo)
Skeena MLA Ellis Ross named critic for Environment and Climate Change Strategy

Previously, Ross was the critic for LNG, Resource Opportunities, and Responsible Development

Red sky in morning: an early-morning sunrise on May 16, 2020, captured just north of Kitimat. (Eric Roy photo)
Clare’s Corner: Hello, darkness, my old friend

Why does the after-work darkness affect you so much more as an adult than as a child?

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Business groups have been advocating for years that local approvals for construction in B.C. are too long and restricted, and that B.C.’s outdates sales tax deter business investment. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents worried about COVID-19 deficit, business survey finds

Respondents support faster local approvals, value added tax

Most Read