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

Seattle Mariners field coordinator Carson Vitale before a game at T-Mobile Park during the 2020 season. Vitale, who grew up in Victoria, has pledged to run 10 miles a day for 2021 and to donate 50 cents per mile to the United Way of King County. (Ben Van Houten/Seattle Mariners)
Mariners coach running 10 miles a day for United Way

Saanich-raised Carson Vitale, Seattle Mariners field coordinator, plans to run 3,650 miles in 2021

Gordon English, construction manager of the Habitat for Humanity project in North Saanich, shows off the current interior of a townhouse part of the affordable housing project. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Families set to move in to affordable housing project in North Saanich by spring

Pending completion of Habitat for Humanity project comes against backdrop of new housing report

A rainbow graces the departure of CCGS John Cabot as it leaves Victoria Jan. 7. (Canadian Coast Guard/Facebook)
Follow a coast guard ship’s trip from Victoria to Halifax, through Panama Canal

Canadian Coast Guard Ship John Cabot left for St. Johns on Jan. 7

(Google Maps)
Sophisticated glass-removal crime returns to downtown Victoria

Several businesses on Fort Street targeted overnight, say police

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

The District reopened access to the Sooke Potholes on Friday. (Contributed - Ashley Ensor)
Sooke Potholes reopen after storm

The park was closed on Wednesday after down power lines

Most Read