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Canadian businessman pleads not guilty in admissions scam

David Sidoo, of Vancouver, Canada, enters an adjacent building with his lawyer following a federal court hearing Friday, March 15, 2019, in Boston. Sidoo faced charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud as part of a wide-ranging college admissions bribery scandal. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

BOSTON (AP) — 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 appeared in federal court in Boston and was released on a $1.5 million secured bond.

Sidoo, who also played in the Canadian Football League, is one of 50 people charged in a sweeping college admissions cheating scam announced by Boston authorities this week.

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, including Hollywood stars Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

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.

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.

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

“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.

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