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The Professional Test-Taker At The Center Of The College Admissions Scandal Is Speaking Out About His Involvement

The Professional Test-Taker At The Center Of The College Admissions Scandal Is Speaking Out About His Involvement

After the names of actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were revealed as accessories for the explosive college bribery scheme, additional details are continuing to surface revealing more players involved in the scandal.

Authorities revealed that tennis pro Mark Riddell as the professional test-taker who was paid $10,000 by high profile individuals to take or doctor each of their children's college entrance exams.

According to Tennistronic, Riddell was a Division I tennis player at Harvard in the early 2000s; he worked with William 'Rick' Singer of the fake Key Worldwide Foundation that accepted bribes from wealthy parents to get their unqualified kids into elite universities.

Now, Riddell has come forward to reveal his involvement in the college admissions scandal with PEOPLE.

The 36-year-old has been charged with two counts of conspiracy, including mail fraud and money laundering. He admitted that he takes full responsibility for his deceptions.

He issued a statement, saying:

"I want to communicate to everyone that I am profoundly sorry for the damage I have done and grief I have caused those as a result of my needless actions."

"I understand how my actions contributed to a loss of trust in the college admissions process."

He emphasized, contrary to what many people believe, that he did not bribe anyone.

"I assume full responsibility for what I have done. I do, however, want to clarify an assertion that has arisen in the media coverage. I absolutely, unequivocally never bribed anyone, nor has the Information filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office charged me with any form of bribery.

The justice department clarified he is not being charged for bribery, but for accepting payments.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Boston U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said Riddell "did not have inside information about the correct answers" when taking the college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT.

"He was just smart enough to get a near-perfect score on demand, or to calibrate the score."

Lelling also said that Singer would consult with the parents about what test scores they desired for their kids and then proceed to instruct Riddell to "attempt to get that score."

Lelling said:

"[Singer] offered a variety of cheating options as part of a widespread conspiracy to enrich himself while also facilitating cheating on SAT and ACT exams, recruiting applicants on the competitive athletic teams in exchange for bribes and concealing the nature and source of those bribes."

According to the charging documents, Riddell called Singer and predicted he would score a 35 or 36 after taking an ACT exam in a Houston hotel room on July 14, 2018. He scored a 35.

Riddell closed his statement with:

"I will always regret the choices I made, but I also believe that the more than one thousand students I legitimately counseled, inspired, and helped reach their goals in my career will paint a more complete picture of the person I truly am."

The IMG Academy, for whom Riddell worked for more than a dozen years, announced his suspension and removed his biography page from the school's website.

Riddell is scheduled to appear in federal court sometime in mid-April.

It is highly unlikely his former employer would bring him back as the school counselor.