Man who took tests for students pleads guilty in college admissions scandal

Key player in admissions scandal enters plea

Los Angeles — Mark Riddell pleaded guilty Friday to helping dozens of high school students cheat on their college entrance exams. Riddell took responsibility for his role in the college admissions scandal, pleading guilty to fraud and money laundering.

Rick Singer, the admitted mastermind behind the scheme paid Riddell "$10,000 per test" to fly from his home in Florida to test centers in Texas and California. There, the Harvard graduate would "secretly take the exams in place of actual students" with some parents even providing samples of their children's "handwriting, so Riddell could imitate it while taking the exam."

In other cases, like with actress Felicity Huffman's daughter, he would simply alter test answers, to achieve a higher score. In her case, it was 400 points higher, but not too high, according to prosecutors, "in order to avoid any suspicion of cheating."

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"He did not have inside information about the answers. He was just smart enough to get a near perfect score on demand," said U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling.

The 36-year-old Riddell is cooperating with prosecutors and the day the scandal broke, he issued a statement saying, "I am profoundly sorry for the damage I have done and grief I have caused those as a result of my needless actions. I assume full responsibility."

"Mark Riddell potentially gets a big break. The prosecution is going to recommend 33 to 41 months," said CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman.

Riddell will be sentenced in July.