Additional sentencing, plea deals, and charges in college admissions scandal

Entrance to the University of Southern California. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

In the last week and a half, there have been two more parents sentenced with four entering plea deals.  Additional charges have been brought against parents who are still fighting the charges.

One parent released

10/25/19 – CBS News – Felicity Huffman released from prison early after college admissions scam sentence. She was sentenced to 14 days. She was given credit of one day for the half day she was held back when she was arrested. That leaves 13 days.  The Bureau of Prisons has a policy that if a person’s release day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the person is released on the previous week day.  With a release scheduled on Sunday, 10/27, she was released on Friday, which was day 11. So, two days early release.

The Bureau of Prisons website lists her release date as 10/25/19.

Additional pleas before additional charges added

The Feds apparently dropped a “plead now or else” on the parents who are fighting the charges.

10/21/19 – Wall Street Journal – More Parents Enter Guilty Pleas in College Admissions Cheating Case.  Four parents entered a guilty plea to their charges on Monday.  That brings the number entering a guilt plea to 19 of the 35 charged, according to the article.

This is in advance of the additional charges brought against parents who are still fighting the charges. Based on several articles I read, parents were told this was their last chance for a plea deal before additional charges were stacked on top of their current charges. See next article for the fulfillment of the “or else” threat.

10/22/19 – Department of Justice – Additional Charges Filed Against Parents in College Admissions Case – A third superseding indictment was issued against 11 parents who are fighting the charges. The additional charge is conspiracy

“…to commit federal program bribery by bribing employees of the University of Southern California (USC) to facilitate their children’s admission. In exchange for the bribes, employees of the university allegedly designated the defendants’ children as athletic recruits – with little or no regard for their athletic abilities – or as members of other favored admissions categories.”

One parent received two additional felony charges for bribery at other schools.

Four parents received

“…additional charges of wire fraud and honest services wire fraud”

10/22/19 – Department of Justice – Additional Charges Filed Against University Athletic Officials and Others in College Admissions Case.  Seven former staff of universities drew additional charges (conspiracy and honest services mail fraud and wire fraud). Six of those got another charge (honest services wire fraud) on top of those, plus three of those six had an extra bribery charged added.

Additional sentencing

#11 – 10/23/19 – Jane Buckingham – Three weeks in prison, $40,000 fine, and one year supervised release. She only paid $35K of the agreed $50K to fix her son’s ACT before the feds stopped the whole scheme. Article says her ex-husband was supposed to pick up the balance. This is the last parent with a current plea deal that will be sentenced By Judge Talwani.

#10 – 10/19/19 – Robert Flaxman – One month in prison, $40,000 fine, and one year supervised release.  He paid $75K to fix his daughter’s ACT score. Prosecutors asked for 8 months and $40k fine. Article says he sought out the fixer who ran the scheme.

Article also said three other parents agreed to enter a guilty plea.

Previous sentencing:

Previous sentences will be rolled forward in order to keep track of the status of cases and watch trends in the sentencing.

#9 – 10/16/19 – Marjorie Klapper – Three weeks in prison, $9,500 fine, 250 hours community service, one year supervised release.  She paid $15k have her son’s ACT answers corrected. Prosecutors claim, and she denies, falsely listing him as a minority on school applications.

#7 and  #8 – Gregory Abbott and Marcia Abbott – One  month in prison for each, with $45,000 fine each and 250 hours community service each. They pleaded guilty to paying $125K to improve SAT and ACT test scores.

#6 – 10/11/19 – Peter Jan Sartorio – One year probation, $9,500 fine, 250 hours community service. He paid $15k for getting a faked ACT score. Article says that is a tie for the smallest under-the-table payment of any of the parents.  Judge cut him slack because he didn’t try to hide the payment as a tax deduction and quickly admitted to his action.

#5 – 10/4/19 – Agustin Huneeus Jr – Sentenced to 5 months in jail, $100,000 fine, 500 hours community service. He paid $100K for both the test score faking and buying admission as a stellar athlete instead of average. Article says he gave advice to the guy running the scheme on how to make it better.

#4 – 10/3/19 – Gordon Caplan – Sentenced to 1 month in jail, 1 year supervised release, $50,000 fine, and 250 hours community service. He paid $75k to have his daughter’s ACT test corrected. Judge continues to distinguish between those who bought test results versus those who paid bribes and submitted falsified applications. There is difference between test cheating and faking athletic status. He is scheduled to report to prison on November 6.

#3 – 9/27/19 – Stephen Semprevivo – Sentenced to 4 months in jail, 2 years supervised release, 500 hours community service, $100,000 fine, possible restitution to Georgetown. He allegedly paid $400,000 to the fake charity, which in turn allegedly paid the Georgetown tennis coach. Plan was to present the son as a competitive tennis player.

#2 – 9/25/19 – Devin Sloane – Sentenced to 4 months in jail, 2 years supervised release, 500 hours community service, and $95,000 fine. He paid $250,000 to get his non-water-polo-playing son into USC as a water polo player. Was accused of paying $200K to the charity run by the guy behind the whole scheme and another $50K allegedly to a former athletic director at USC

Parent #1 – 9/13/19 – Felicity Huffman – Sentenced to 14 days in jail, one year supervised release, 250 hours community service and $30,000 fine. Prosecutors asked for 30 days, one year supervised release, and $20K fine.

Nonparent – 7/9/19 – Stanford sailing coach – Sentenced to 1 day in jail, 6 months house detention, 2 years supervised release, and $10K fine. Described as the least severe of the cases since the coach didn’t receive any money directly and only one student was admitted.

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