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Website owners face $4.6m pay-off in cheating students scandal

A detective has told a court that a website accused of supplying a cheating service to students must have known what was going on.

Website Assignment4U was shut down after media attention and the Qualifications Authority sought an injunction against Ateama Limited, which runs the website, to stop it operating in 2013.

The police commissioner is asking the High Court in Auckland to order Assignments4U website bosses Steven Quan Li and his wife Fan Yang to forfeit more than $4.6 million it said were proceeds of crime.

The company was accused of selling essays to students for university and polytechnic courses.

The commissioner's lawyer Mark Harborow said Steven Quan Li and his wife, who run the company, benefited from the profits.

He said the $4.6 million figure came from an average assignment costing $406, multiplied by the estimated number supplied.

The commissioner was also seeking the forfeiture of apartments in the Auckland CBD, one of which was the home of Assignments4U.

Detective Craig Smith said under cross examination from David Jones - the lawyer for Steven Quan Li and Fan Yang - that the students who used the website were the principal offenders.

He also said he did not know of any students who used the website having been prosecuted by the police.

However, Mr Smith said the website operators knew the assignments were going to be turned in as the student's own work.

The hearing before Justice Woolford has been set down for four weeks.

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