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Man Pleads Guilty to Helping Students Cheat

An Arcadia man has pleaded guilty to helping students cheat on college and graduate school entrance exams by supplying them with pencils encoded with the answers for up to $9,000 each, a federal prosecutor said Friday.

The U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York said Po Chieng Ma, 46, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of jumping bail.

Authorities said Ma employed expert test takers to take the national standardized tests on the East Coast. They would then telephone the answers to his office on the West Coast, where because of a difference in time zones the tests were given three hours later.

The answers were secretly encoded on pencils and given to Ma’s clients, who took them into tests administered by the private Educational Testing Service.

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