15 Chinese nationals accused of massive scheme to defraud America's standardised testing system

College boardMario TamaStudents protest SAT testing outside College Board headquarters June 27, 2002 in New York City.

Fifteen Chinese nationals living in the US have been charged with creating an elaborate scheme to hire imposters to take US college entrance exams on behalf of prospective students.

According to a Department of Justice indictment unsealed on Thursday, the alleged fraudsters charged up to $US6,000 to have imposters pose as students in tests like the SAT and the Graduate Records Exam.

The Justice Department alleges that between 2011 and 2015, the defendants shipped fake Chinese passports to the US and gave them to imposters who took the tests for other students.

“These students were not only cheating their way into the university, they were also cheating their way through our nation’s immigration system,” Homeland Security agent John Kelleghan said.

“The perpetrators of this conspiracy were using fraudulent passports for the purpose of impersonating test takers of Educational Testing Services’ standardised tests including the SAT, GRE and [Test of English as a Foreign Language], and thereby securing fraudulently obtained admissions to American institutions of higher education,” US Attorney David J. Hickton said.

The Justice Department claims most of the tests were taken in western Pennsylvania.

The 15 people were charged with conspiracy, counterfeiting foreign passports, mail fraud, and wire fraud.

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