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IRVINE : 2 Must Stand Trial in Exam Thefts

Two former UCI students accused of stealing exams to improve their grade point averages have been ordered to stand trial on charges of conspiracy, burglary and possession of stolen property.

The two men, Amir Bagherzadeh, 23, and Kambiz Omidi, 22, pleaded not guilty to breaking into a biology professor’s office on Feb. 2 and stealing dummy tests that were planted there by campus police.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Jim Hicks said testimony and evidence suggest that the defendants stole tests for their own benefits and not for monetary gain.

“They wanted to steal tests to improve their grades,” Hicks said.

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At a preliminary hearing in Newport Beach, Municipal Judge Susanne Shaw on Tuesday ordered the two men to stand trial.

Campus police have said Bagherzadeh and Omidi were part of a UCI exam-theft ring that involved two other students. However, charges against one student were dropped for lack of evidence. The fourth student committed suicide several days after his arrest in February.

Campus police said they discovered the theft ring after receiving a tip from a biology professor.

If convicted, Bagherzadeh and Omidi could face up to four years in prison, Hicks said. Their arraignment has been scheduled for Dec. 28 in Santa Ana.

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