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Six-Month Jail Term In SAT Cheating Scam

October 24, 1992

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) _ A 19-year-old man who admitted paying a friend $200 to take his college entrance examination was sentenced Friday to six months in jail.

Lawrence H. Adler, of Potomac, wept and begged for mercy from Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Paul Weinstein, saying he was truly sorry.

But Weinstein rejected the plea.

″Quite frankly, Mr. Adler, you’ve been conning people all your life. The con ends here today.″

Outside the courtroom, Adler lashed out at reporters.

″You guys created this whole mess,″ he said.

The Educational Testing Service, which conducts the Scholastic Aptitude Test, said it was the first time anyone has been criminally prosecuted in connection with cheating on an SAT exam.

Weinstein sentenced Adler to 18 months on two perjury-related charges, but suspended all but six months of the jail term.

He also ordered the college student to perform 100 hours of community service, undergo psychotherapy and be placed on three years probation. Adler does not have to report to jail until after the fall college semester ends in December.

Adler was deeply affected by the suicide of his father about 10 years ago, his sister Sharon said.

″Larry was his favorite,″ she told the judge.

Testimony also revealed that Adler had been sexually molested twice as a child.

The perjury-related charges stemmed from a civil suit Adler brought against ETS after it refused to validate his scores. Adler and a friend, David Srulevich, who is scheduled for sentencing next Wednesday for obstruction of justice, said at a March hearing that Adler took the test last November.

But after an ETS investigation, Adler admitted he had paid another friend, David Farmer, a freshman at the University of Virginia, $200 to take the exam for him. Weinstein said Farmer lost his scholarship and was dismissed from the university because of his participation in the scheme.

Farmer earned scores of 660 on the verbal portion of the SAT and 750 on the math section. Those scores placed him in the 99th percentile of students taking the math portion and the 97th percentile for verbal skills. When Adler took a similar test, the California Achievement Test, in 1989 he ranked in the 37th percentile for math skills and in the 48th percentile for language skills, according to court testimony.

Adler attends Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.

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