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DA: Two more surrender in SAT scandal

Michael Pomerantz is brought out of Nassau Police

Michael Pomerantz is brought out of Nassau Police headquarters on Monday, November 28, 2011 in Mineola. Pomerantz is charged with accepting money to take the SAT for someone else, prosecutors said. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Two more people surrendered Monday in the expanding probe into cheating on college admission tests at schools on the North Shore, bringing the total number arrested in the scandal to 20.

Michael Pomerantz, 18, of Great Neck, pleaded not guilty to felony charges that he accepted $500 to take the SAT for another person. He was released without bail and is due back in court Jan. 5.

A second student, whose name was not released because he is charged as a youthful offender, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges that he paid someone to take the test, his lawyer said outside court. The courtroom was closed to the public during his arraignment.

The student, who attends St. Mary's High School in Manhasset, was released without bail, his lawyer, Kevin Keating, of Garden City, said. "We're ready to fight this case," Keating said.

Pomerantz, who prosecutors said attended Great Neck North High School, left court without commenting. His lawyer Scott Klein, of Manhattan, also declined to comment.

The charges against the two follow the arrests last week of 11 current and former students of Nassau County high schools, including three for taking tests for other students -- Joshua Chefec, 20, a graduate of Great Neck North; Adam Justin, 19, a graduate of North Shore Hebrew Academy; and George Trane, 19, a graduate of Great Neck South High School.

The scandal exploded in September when Sam Eshaghoff, 19, a graduate of Great Neck North High School, was arrested and charged with accepting as much as $3,600 to take the test for as many as 15 students. Another six were charged with misdemeanors for paying somebody to take the test for them. Eshaghoff's case was on the court calendar Monday, but he did not appear in person. Prosecutors said his case was waived to the grand jury. Since the September arrests, Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said her office has looked at as many as 40 possible cheaters, but can charge only a fraction of them because of issues involving evidence and the statute of limitations.

The district attorney's office also has convened a special grand jury, sources close to the probe have confirmed. That probe could result in criminal indictments, a report or recommendations on the panel's findings, sources and experts said.


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