A Vancouver businessman who grew up in New Westminster has taken a leave of absence from his role as president and CEO of two companies amid allegations he paid $200,000 to have people take the SATs on behalf of his sons.
David Sidoo is charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud as part of an investigation into a college admissions scam in the United States. He is among 50 people who allegedly took part in the scam and are now facing charges, including actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.
The indictment, announced Tuesday, alleges Sidoo conspired with others to commit mail and wire fraud between 2011 and February 2019 by helping students, including his sons, cheat on college entrance exams to obtain admission into some of the most elite universities and colleges in the United States.
Sidoo is well-known in the Lower Mainland for his philanthropy work. He played six seasons in the CFL and has been very supportive of the New Westminster Hyacks football team over the years. In 2004, he donated a scoreboard to Mercer Stadium.
He is also president and CEO at Advantage Lithium Corp., a Vancouver-based lithium exploration company working out of Argentina, and East West Petroleum, a Canadian oil and gas company exploration and development company.
On Thursday, Advantage Lithium announced Sidoo was taking a temporary leave of absence and that the company’s director and technical advisor, Callum Grant, would “assume Mr. Sidoo’s responsibilities in the role of Interim Chief Executive Officer.”
East West Petroleum has also announced Sidoo has stepped down as president and CEO.
“In light of this legal action, Mr. Sidoo has decided it would be in the best interests of the company to take a leave of absence from his executive role in the company,” read a statement by the company.
This news comes one day after St. George’s School, the private Vancouver school that his sons attended, announced it had conducted an investigation into claims made in Sidoo’s indictment that he had paid someone to fly to Vancouver and pose as his older son to take a high school graduation exam.
St. George’s School said the investigation reviewed its records from 2012 and indicated no school or provincial exams were written at the school by the student in question on or around the date referenced by the indictment.
Sidoo’s legal team also released a statement on Wednesday saying he intends to plead not guilty at a court appearance in Boston on Friday.
-with files from Canadian Press