Mark Riddell Suspended by IMG Academy After Indictment in Bribery Scandal

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2019

IMG Academy's Trevon Duval #1 is seen against Wasatch Academy during a high school basketball game at the 2017 Hoophall Classic on Sunday, January 15, 2017, in Springfield, MA. IMG Academy won the game.(AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

IMG Academy announced Tuesday that Mark Riddell, the prep school's director of college entrance exams, has been suspended indefinitely after being indicted as part of an FBI investigation into cheating in college admissions.

Riddell, 36, was charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com reported Riddell, a former college tennis player at Harvard, was accused of "being paid for secretly taking college entrance exams for actual students or replacing their answers with his own" following the probe into a high-profile bribery scheme.

Federal prosecutors said in the indictment that the Sarasota, Florida, native was paid $10,000 every time he took a college entrance exam or changed answers, per Schlabach.

The report noted in one instance an individual identified as Parent 1 arranged for Riddell to take a standardized test through admissions consultant William "Rick" Singer, who pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges in the case Tuesday, after their son became ill and was unable to take the exam. The parent provided Riddell with handwriting examples, and the IMG Academy employee proceeded to score 35 out of 36 on the test.

U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling, the lead federal prosecutor on the case, described Riddell as a "really smart guy" who didn't cheat on the tests he was paid to take or fix, according to Meghan Keneally of WFTS Digital.

"He didn't have inside information about the answers, he was just smart enough to get a near perfect score on demand or to calibrate the score," Lelling said.

Prosecutors are seeking $450,000 in forfeitures from Riddell, per Schlabach.

His IMG Academy profile has been removed from the school's website amid the suspension.

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