Chinese Students Plead Guilty to TOEFL Fraud

August 31, 2017

Three Chinese students have agreed to plead guilty to cheating on the Test of English as a Foreign Language and will likely be deported, Reuters reported.

Xiaomeng Cheng pleaded guilty of conspiring to defraud the U.S. in a Boston federal court Wednesday, and plea hearings are set for two additional students, Shikun Zhang and Yue Wang. Prosecutors say that Wang, a student at Hult International Business School, was paid to take the TOEFL for Cheng, who used the fraudulent test score to gain admission to Arizona State University, and Zhang, who used the fraudulent score to gain admission to Northeastern University. The students then obtained visas from the U.S. State Department based on their admission offers.

The three students faced up to five years in prison, but prosecutors recommended they be sentenced for time served if they agreed to be deported. A fourth student accused of involvement in the fraud, Leyi Huang, reportedly declined to enter into a similar plea deal.

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