BOSTON – Thirteen parents charged in the college admissions scandal will plead guilty to using bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate their children’s admission to selective colleges and universities. One coach also agreed to plead guilty.

District of Massachusetts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, April 8, 2019

14 Defendants in College Admissions Scandal to Plead Guilty
13 parents and one university athletic coach have agreed to plead guilty to charges of mail fraud and honest services mail fraud

The defendants were arrested last month and charged with conspiring with William “Rick” Singer, 58, of Newport Beach, Calif., and others, to use bribery and other forms of fraud to secure the admission of students to colleges and universities. The conspiracy involved bribing SAT and ACT exam administrators to allow a test taker to secretly take college entrance exams in place of students, or to correct the students’ answers after they had taken the exam, and bribing university athletic coaches and administrators to facilitate the admission of students to elite universities as purported athletic recruits.

The following defendants were charged in an Information with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud and have agreed to plead guilty pursuant to plea agreements:

Gregory Abbott, 68, of New York, N.Y., together with his wife, Marcia, agreed to pay Singer $125,000 to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme for their daughter;
Marcia Abbott, 59, of New York, N.Y.;
Jane Buckingham, 50, of Beverly Hills, Calif., agreed to pay Singer $50,000 to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme for her son;
Gordon Caplan, 52, of Greenwich, Conn., agreed to pay Singer $75,000 to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme for his daughter;
Robert Flaxman, 62, of Laguna Beach, Calif., agreed to pay Singer $75,000 to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme for his daughter;
Felicity Huffman, 56, of Los Angeles, Calif., agreed to pay Singer at least $15,000 to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme for her oldest daughter;
Agustin Huneeus Jr., 53, of San Francisco, Calif., agreed to pay Singer $300,000 to participate in both the college entrance exam cheating scheme and the college recruitment scheme for his daughter;
Marjorie Klapper, 50, of Menlo Park, Calif., agreed to pay Singer $15,000 to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme for her son;
Peter Jan Sartorio, 53, of Menlo Park, Calif., agreed to pay Singer $15,000 to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme for his daughter;
Stephen Semprevivo, 53, of Los Angeles, Calif., agreed to pay Singer $400,000 to participate in the college recruitment scheme for his son; and
Devin Sloane, 53, of Los Angeles, Calif., agreed to pay Singer $250,000 to participate in the college recruitment scheme for his son.
In addition, Bruce Isackson, 61, and Davina Isackson, 55, of Hillsborough, Calif., were charged in a separate Information and have both agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Bruce Isackson will also plead guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS. The Isacksons agreed to pay Singer an amount, ultimately totaling $600,000, to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme for their younger daughter and the college recruitment scheme for both of their daughters. The Isacksons also underpaid their federal income taxes by deducting the bribe payments as purported charitable contributions. The Isacksons are cooperating with the government’s investigation.

Michael Center, 54, of Austin, Texas, the former head coach of men’s tennis at the University of Texas at Austin, was charged in a third Information and has agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. In 2015, Center personally accepted $60,000 in cash from Singer, as well as $40,000 directed to the University of Texas tennis program, in exchange for designating the child of one of Singer’s clients as a tennis recruit, thereby facilitating his admission to the University of Texas.

All of the defendants who improperly took tax deductions for the bribe payments have agreed to cooperate with the IRS to pay back taxes.

Plea hearings have not yet been scheduled by the Court. Case information, including the status of each defendant, charging documents and plea agreements are available here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/investigations-college-admissions-and-testing-bribery-scheme.

The charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. The charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the money laundering. The charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States provides for a maximum sentence of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Kristina O’Connell, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric S. Rosen, Justin D. O’Connell, Leslie A. Wright, and Kristen A. Kearney of Lelling’s Securities and Financial Fraud Unit are prosecuting the cases.