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8 face judge in exam case

By Paul Welitzkin in New York | China Daily USA | Updated: 2015-06-18 11:41

Eight Chinese citizens accused of participating in a scheme to take college entrance exams on behalf of others so they could get into US colleges and obtain visas had an initial appearance in federal court Wednesday.

All eight appeared before Federal Magistrate Judge Robert C. Mitchell in Pittsburgh and entered not guilty pleas.

Six were males: Han Tong, 24 of Pittsburgh, Biyuan Li, 25, Boston, Going Zhang, 23 of Pittsburgh, Siyuan Zong, 24 of Revere, Massachusetts, Songling Peng, 19 of Watertown, Wisconsin, and Yudong Zhang, 21, of Blacksburg, Virginia.

Two were females: Yue Zou, 20, of Blacksburg, Virginia and Yunlin Sun, 24 of Berlin, Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh.

All were released on $10,000 unsecured bond, meaning they did not post any money, but if they fail to appear for any hearing they would owe $10,000.

Another defendant, Jia Song, 20, of Santa Ana, California, had her hearing moved to June 25.

In a 35-count indictment in May, federal authorities said the Chinese nationals defrauded the Educational Testing Services and the College Board, which administers standardized college admission tests like the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) between 2011 and 2015. Those charged are accused of either taking the tests for others or paying others to take the tests for them.

Authorities allege some of the conspirators had counterfeit Chinese passports made and sent to the US.

All face charges including conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and counterfeiting foreign passports.

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