Additional sentences earned in “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal.

August 24, 2020, 6:03 pm

Short term housing for six more parents who cheated getting their children into college. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Since my last update, there have been six more parents sentenced to prison for their participation in the college admission fraud.

In my research, found out the Department of Justice has a recap of defendants, charges, status, and sentencing information at their web site, Investigations of College Admissions and Testing Bribery Scheme.

The newest felons, all of whom will get to enjoy free, short-term federal housing:

#21 & #22 – Lori Laughlin and Mossimo Giannulli – Ms. Laughlin earned 2 months in prison, $150,000 fine, 2 years supervised release, and 100 hours community service.  Mr. Giannulli earned 5 months prison time, $250,000 fine, 2 years supervised release, and 250 hours community service.  They paid the organizer of the scam $500,000 to structure a scheme to present their two daughters as experienced rowing athletes even though neither of the children had any experience in the sport. The couple had loudly declared their innocence until entering a guilty plea back in May. Both of them were ordered to report to prison in November.

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Updates on college admissions scandal.

May 18, 2020, 9:00 am

Another sentencing had been expected in the last month or so. The coronavirus pandemic has closed many courts so lots of proceedings are on hold.

There is some news – one more sentencing, another guilty plea, and judge refusing to dismiss some charges.

Sentencing so far includes 16 parents and 2 college coaches. Fourteen parents are awaiting trial.

#16 – 3/31/20 – Elizabeth Henriquez Seven months in prison, $200,000 fine, 2 years supervised release, and 300 hours community service. She requested home confinement instead of prison in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the judge ordered her to report on June 30 and indicated he would entertain a motion for further delay of confinement if the  pandemic is not resolved.

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Minor updates on college admissions scandal.

March 29, 2020, 4:01 pm

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Not a lot of developments on the college admissions fiasco in the last several weeks. Two more sentencing hearings are scheduled over the next two weeks.

Some updates:

3/26/20 – New York Post – Lori Loughlin, college admissions scandal parents urge judge to drop charges. Read the rest of this entry »


Recap of sentences handed down in college admissions scandal as of 3/12/20.

March 12, 2020, 7:00 am

Metropolitan Correction Center San Diego. Photo by James Ulvog.

Currently, fifteen parents have been sentenced in the “Varsity Blue” college admissions scandal. I’ve noticed two coaches who have been sentenced.

Following is a list of the sentencing results for those individuals.  I’ve published this list before. Will continue to post updates as more sentences are handed down.

The status listed at the Bureau of Prison’s inmate locator database is added for all of those sentenced.

Previous sentencing

Non-parent #2- 3/2/20 – Michael Center, tennis coach at UT AustinSix months in prison, $60,000 fine, and one year supervised release. The coach accepted bribes of $60K personally and $40K to the tennis program in return for helping a student who didn’t play tennis get admitted as a tennis athlete.  Parent paid $631,564 to the organizer of this whole scheme in return for the faked admission. Name of parent is not mentioned in this article.

3/12/20 status – Inmate 28214-480 is listed at the Bureau of Prison’s website as not in custody.

#15 – 2/26/20 – Michelle JanavsFive months in prison, $250,000 fine, and two years supervised release. She paid $100K to fix ACT answers for two children, $50K to a USC coach, and was arrested before paying a remaining balance of $150K. Prosecutors requested 21 months.

The judge was going to sentence her to 12 months but gave her a 7 month discount because of her charitable work. She draws $100,000 a month from the family trust funded by the entrepreneurial efforts of her father (inventor of “Hot Pockets” sandwiches). Giving away some portion of her inherited wealth got her a reduced sentence.

3/11/20 status – Inmate 77816-112 is not in custody.

#14 – 2/7/20 – Douglas Hodge – Nine months in prison, $750,000 fine. 500 hours of community service. Paid $850,000 to get four of his seven children into college. Two went to Georgetown as fake tennis players, two to USC, one as pretend soccer player and another as fake football player. He was working to get a fifth child into Loyola Marymount for which the feds claim he offered to pay $200K for admission to Loyola Marymount, which claim Mr. Hodge denied. Has been buying his kids way into college since 2008.

Update:  WSJ article says judge was going to issue a 12 month sentence but reduced it to 9 months because of his previous philanthropic efforts.

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Two more sentences handed down in the college admissions scandal. New disclosures disrupt sentencing and might alter trial strategy.

March 11, 2020, 9:43 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

New disclosures of communication between the scandal’s ringleader and his attorney are causing commotion in the trials and sentencing.

One more parent and one athletic coach have been sentenced.

Next post will provide a recap of status for each sentenced individual. Those summaries will include current confinement status as posted at the Bureau of Prison’s website.

New disclosures

2/27/20 – Wall Street Journal – College-Admissions Trials to Begin in October Even As Battle Brews Over New Evidence.  First round of trials will be in October 2020 and the second round starting in January 2021.  Lori Laughlin and her husband will be in the first group.

A new spat between the feds and defense attorneys is focused on about 300 pages of notes made by the key player in the fiasco which were turned over to the various defense teams this week.

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One more sentencing in college admissions scandal and prosecutor recommendations for next three parent facing a judge.

February 7, 2020, 10:51 am

White-Gravenor Hall of Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Fourteenth sentence for a parent in the college admissions scandal was handed down today. Also, feds have recommendations for the next three parents already scheduled for sentencing, which will be heavier than previous cases.

The LA Times provided an update on federal recommendations on 2/4/20:  Admissions scandal:  Prosecutors seek longest prison sentences yet for four California parents.

Prosecutors assert the four worked on the scheme for 11 years, cumulatively paying $1.6M to help out nine children.

Recap of status for these four, each of whom have pleaded guilty on two felony counts:

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Two more parents sentenced in college admissions scandal over last two months. Recap of previous sentences.

December 26, 2019, 9:54 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Two more parents have been sentenced in the college admissions scandal.  Been watching the news lately and no more sentences have been declared in the last six weeks.

According to my count of the status listed by Wikipedia, there are 6 parents who have a plea deal and are awaiting sentencing. Another 15 parents are awaiting trial.

New sentencing since my last post on 10/28/19:

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

October 28, 2019, 8:39 am

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

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Six more parents sentenced in “Varsity Blues” admissions scandal.

October 17, 2019, 4:04 pm

Residence of Felicity Huffman for the next 14 days: Federal Correctional Institution_Dublin California Overhead View by Prison Insight is licensed under CC BY 2.0

That makes #4 through #9 that have been sentenced.

First of the parents has reported for her free federal housing.

Other articles:

10/15/19 – NPR – Felicity Huffman Begins 14-Day Prison Term in College Admissions Scandal – She reported early for her 14 day sentence.

On 10/16/19, the Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator website shows her with register 77806-112, located at Dublin FCI, with release date of 10/27/19.  That means she would have actually reported on 10/13/19, I think.  Dublin FCI is low security federal institution with an adjacent low security satellite camp. It is located in Alameda county, California.  See overhead photo above.

10/15/19 – Wall Street Journal – In College-Admissions Case, Lawyers for Coaches, Others Move to Dismiss Charges – A number of parents are filing motions that the conspiracy charges are cast too wide, including parents who weren’t participating with anyone, thus the charges are more severe than they ought to be. I don’t understand the purpose of the argument, but appears to be effort to separate some of the less-involved parents from the taint of being publicly associated with the more severe cases.

Details of sentencing

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Second and third parent sentenced in “Varsity Blues” admissions scandal.

September 26, 2019, 11:17 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Two more parents have been sentenced in the admissions scheming. Also, the judge handling 10 plea deals outlines the rationale for sentencing.

Los Angeles Times – 9/23/19 – Prosecutors in college admissions scandal fighting for prison time for parents. The judge scheduled to sentence 10 more parents in the “Varsity Blues” admissions fiasco decided on the basis for which she will determine sentences.  Prosecutors had sought to use the amount of money paid as guiding the sentence. Judge decided the actions of the parents will guide her sentencing.

Two new sentencings

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.

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Admissions scandal sentencing. Data base on accused parents.

September 19, 2019, 7:29 am

USC library. USC is the most popular school for those accused in the Varsity Blues scandal. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A second sentence has been handed down in the “Varsity Blues” college-admissions scandal. I’ll make a completely wild guess on what the sentencing might hint for others facing sentencing or trial. Another parent has been charged.

Finally, link to a database from Wikipedia of the accused parents, their background, number of children involved, and name of school.

Of note to readers of this blog is that I’ve not seen any comments that  implicate any of the schools beyond some of their staff doing under the table deals.

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

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

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Looks like the scope of the guardianship-transfer-for-financial-aid fiasco is growing

August 12, 2019, 1:11 pm

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The first reports of a new college admissions scandal indicated the scheme was in play in Illinois. A small number of minutes research on the ol’ net shows the scandal is now open in Missouri.

With a sinking feeling, I am wondering where else this will show itself.

Scheme reportedly exists in Missouri

Kansas City Star – 8/5/19 – Did rich Missouri families give up custody of kids to get college aid? How’s that legal? Cases have been found of families in Missouri transferring guardianship of children in order to get financial aid.

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College admissions scandal update and freshly reported financial-aid scheme remind me of a verse from Jeremiah about the deceitfulness of the human heart.

July 30, 2019, 6:30 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

At a status conference update for the college admissions scandal, the prosecutors said they have turned over about 3 million pages of documents to the attorneys for the 19 defendants still fighting the charges. This includes around a million pages of emails and 4,500 phone conversations which were wiretapped.

Several attorneys claim they want to see all the FBI interview forms (those infamous 302s, which are subsequently prepared notes of interviews documented at some various time after the interview) for all of the people *not* charged in the investigation. The claim is there is exculpatory evidence somewhere in the 302s. The judge denied that request for the moment.

For more info, check out USA Today on 6/3/19: College admissions scandal:  Parents say payments to ringleader weren’t bribes. Next status conference is on October 1.

Another scheme

Financial aid calculations are based on family income and assets.  If a student is assessed as ‘independent’ only the student’s income and assets enter the calculation.

So, how do you get mom’s and dad’s high income and very expensive house removed from the calculation so the student gets a bunch more assistance?

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First sentencing in college admissions scandal

July 9, 2019, 7:00 am

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A sentence has been handed down in the first of the college admission scandal cases to reach a judge. The former sailing coach at Stanford received:

  • $10,000 fine
  • 1 day in jail, already served
  • 6 months house detention
  • 2 years supervised release, i.e. probation

Prosecutors recommended 13 months in prison.

Several articles pointed out this person is the lease culpable of those lined up for sentencing. He did not receive any money directly.

If I read the articles correctly, the only student admitted as part of this scheme was not actually an athlete and has since been expelled.  No other students were admitted.

One key point of detention is an assessment of what type of crime is present.

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Intro and update to college admissions scandal

July 2, 2019, 9:17 am

Lots of things going on behind closed doors that have drawn the focused attention of the U.S. Attorney in Boston. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The pretend-to-be-an-athlete-in-a-sport-you-have-never-even-played scandal in higher education is one of many issues I have not focused on over the last year or more.

Family issues have pulled me away from blogging. Hope to start getting caught up on the massive changes taking place around us. I’ll begin with the college admissions disaster.

Brief background:

A large number of parents were paying Mr. William “Rick” Singer to help their children get into colleges where their kids wouldn’t otherwise gain admission.

More background:

The schemes, according to a long string of articles covered in most newspapers which I won’t link, included techniques such as:

  • Creating fake profile of the student being a competitive athlete when the student had not even played the sport.
  • Paying to have another person take your SAT or ACT tests.
  • Hiring a proctor to oversee extra-testing time and then correcting answers.

Flow of cash was complicated, as expected. Most of the dollars went to a non-profit foundation set up by Mr. Singer. He then distributed portions of the money to college sports coaches, proctors, and other participants. Some of the payments went directly from the parents to the colleges.

Oh, by making those payments to a charity, the payments became tax deductible. So there is also a tax fraud angle for all the involved parents to ponder. You can easily guess someone from IRS Criminal Investigations is involved in each of the cases.

Current status:

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