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Twelve Defendants in College Admissions Scandal Arraigned in Boston Federal Court

Twelve Defendants in College Admissions Scandal Arraigned in Boston Federal Court

“If they’re convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 in fines and 31/2 years of court supervision.”

Legal proceedings have begun for the college admissions scandal that shocked the nation and rocked the world of higher education in recent weeks. Twelve people, including coaches, were arraigned in a Boston federal court on Monday.

Sophie Reardon and Perry Russom report at New England Cable News:

Coaches, Others Plead Not Guilty in College Admissions Scandal

A dozen athletic coaches, test administrators and others pleaded not guilty to participating in a nationwide college admissions scam.

The defendants arrested in the Operation Varsity Blues investigation were arraigned Monday on a charge of racketeering conspiracy in Boston’s federal court.

The Moakley Federal Courthouse has been the epicenter of the scandal, and Monday marked the largest gathering of defendants at the court at the same time in the historic case.

All 12 defendants entered a not guilty plea.

They include former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst, former UCLA men’s soccer coach Jorge Salcedo and Wake Forest women’s volleyball coach Bill Ferguson.

An attorney for Ferguson told reporters outside the courthouse that his client is innocent and “does not belong in this indictment.”…

Other defendents were Igor Dvorskiy, director of West Hollywood Prepatory School; Martin Fox, president of Private Tennis Academy & Camp in Houston; Donna Heinel, senior associate athletic director at USC; Laura Janke, former assistant coach of women’s soccer at USC; Ali Khosroshahin, former head coach of women’s soccer at USC; Steven Masera, accountant and financial officer for Edge College and Career Network and Key Worldwide Foundation; Mikaela Sanford, employee at Edge College and Career Network and Key Worldwide Foundation; Jovan Vavic, former water polo coach At USC; and Niki Williams, test administrator for the College Board and ACT.

Joey Garrison of USA Today has more:

12 defendants in biggest-ever college admissions cheating scandal plead not guilty in Boston court

The 12 defendants were arraigned Monday before Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley as they made their first appearance in a federal court in Boston, where the nationwide case is being tried by the Justice Department.

One by one, the defendants and their attorneys stood up and were told their rights, beginning with Gordon Ernst, the former head tennis coach at Georgetown University, who is accused of taking more than $2.7 million in bribes to designate at least 12 recruits as tennis players including some who did not even play the sport.

“Not guilty,” each of them said individually when asked for their plea.

If they’re convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 in fines and 31/2 years of court supervision. While the case is pending, the defendants’ travel is restricted to within the United States, among other conditions. The judge set a status conference hearing for June 3.

Here’s a video report from ABC News:

In related news, the Harvard alumnus who allegedly took college-board exams in the place of students at a fee of $10,000 per test, is expected to plead guilty.

Minyvonne Burke reports at NBC News:

College admissions scandal: Accused test taker Mark Riddell to plead guilty

A Harvard alumnus accused of taking SAT and ACT tests for college-bound children of wealthy parents embroiled in a massive admissions cheating scandal is expected to plead guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering, court documents show.

Mark Riddell, a 2004 Harvard graduate, allegedly secretly took college board exams for students between 2012 and this past February. He was paid $10,000 per test, according to prosecutors.

He faces up to 20 years in prison, in addition to supervised release for three years and a $250,000 fine. But the U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts said in a court filing that based on Riddell’s “prompt acceptance of personal responsibility” for the offenses alleged, prosecutors would recommend a lesser sentence.

This really does seem like a turning point. Public anger over this scandal suggests people will actually go to jail.

Featured image via YouTube.


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Welcome to Massachusetts! Be sure to visit the State House and Boston City Hall, home to other lawbreakers such as yourselves!

Thankfully former Georgetown coach Gordon Ernst resigned from his newly assumed coaching position at my alma mater, URI.

How Georgetown failed to notify URI of his pending “issues” when URI was inquiring about him is mind boggling. Our nation is suffering an epidemic lack of morals/values.

You really have to feel sorry for the people involved in this, who just wanted to get their child into a specific school. They are not really bad people, they are just victims of inflation. The cost of the traditional route to special admission, buying your child’s way into college, has become so expensive, only the super rich can afford it. Dr. Dre made a $70 MILLION dollars worth of donations to USC before his daughter’s admission was secured. Who can afford that? The moderately rich have been squeezed out of the traditional path to special college admission by economic factors. They are victims. And, this whole circus is nothing more than pandering to economic class discrimination fears.

The point here is that the rich have been buying college admissions for their children for hundreds of years. And, the colleges have been going along with it. What has changed is the price tag for these accommodations. Where a few thousand dollars used to suffice, it became a few million and now is at several tens of millions, depending upon the school. These the mildly rich have now been priced out of the market.

Considering the fact that the government of the United States used its power to actively spy on US citizens, to engage in criminal acts for political purposes and to use its power to attempt to cover-up those acts seems to be a whole lot more important than whether someone used their money to help their child gain admission to a college, where they would probably graduate with a degree in hormonal studies or a degree in economics and become a barista. Add in the refusal of a large part of the government to actively secure the porous Southern border, clean up insane immigration laws, and advocate for the destruction of the economy of this nation, and I really do not care about this “scandal”. Perspective is important.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Mac45. | March 27, 2019 at 12:47 am

    Here is how bad I feel for poor old Dr. Dre

      What Dr. Dre illustrates is the problem.

      It is a long established tradition, at colleges and universities, to allow placement for the offspring of large donors to the institution. This could usually be accomplished for a few thousand dollars or, at most, a couple of million. But, that has now changed. Now, colleges and universities are demanding tens of millions for these special placements. The nouveau riche have been priced out of the market.

      This causes two problems. The first is that the higher prices cause those, who can’t pay these prices, to find less expensive avenues to achieve their goals. And, as they are now operating outside the traditional pay for play system, their children are competing for the same slots as those who are applying strictly on merit. It is no problem for an institution to simply add a few seats to their student body, and the larger the institution, the easier this is. And, this is what traditionally happened.

      So, what we have is a wholly predictable situation. And, while the means used by the parents in this situation are crimes, they are much the fault of the institutions involved as they are of the parents and employees involved. If institutions strictly adhered to a wholly merit based admissions system, then those involved in the illegal activities would be wholly to blame. But, institutions have established systems which are based upon factors totally outside the realm of merit. It would be interesting to see how many people actually scam the system by claiming they belong to some racial, gender or other privileged class to gain admission to schools, especially prestigious ones.

Although these college entrance scam people broke some kind of law, whom did they injure? But just above is the case of Smollet and how he was just freed of all charges of inciting racial violence. It got so intense that it could have triggered a national riot and left many dead or injured. He not only insulted all white people but insulted POTUS and his supporters. But hey, he is what he is and he is going to walk.

    Arminius in reply to inspectorudy. | March 26, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Let’s see, the list is long. They injured qualified students who are actually capable of doing the work. Since the unqualified students require so much of the professors’ time, they injure the qualified students who did get in because while qualified they still need occasional help with the coursework. The unqualified students need constant help with the course work and a lot of remedial education to teach them skills they should have used in high school. They are no more interested in learning in college than they were in high school. In fact, they won’t even go to class a lot of times but they are spoiled rotten and they and their self-centered parents expect the professors to give the precious little monsters the grades they want and need. So the profs waste a lot of time recapping the lectures they missed because they were hungover from the night before or getting their morning high, and designing extra credit projects so they can bring their grades up.

    Inevitably the profs give up and drop standards because the universities won’t back them because legacy students whose parents can afford to pay for buildings, the star athletes who bring in tonse of revenue, and these little s**ts whose parents aren’t rich enough to pay for buildings but can afford six figure bribes are worth more to the schools than the profs. This is especially true for the untenured profs because they can easily be replaced by all the starving unemployed and underemployed PhDs who would jump at the chance for their jobs.

    To give you the entitled attitude of these kids, Lori Loughlin’s daughter is some YouTube star(!!!) named Olivia Jade Giannulli. She made a YouTube video for her idiot fans and she’s bragging that she does want to have the experience of going to USC and is looking forward to game days and partying. But she isn’t interested in school and doesn’t know how much class she’ll attend. And the school will cater to her. She knows it, her mom and dad know it, and the professors know it. They’re expendable. The rich students and star athletes aren’t.

    Even the tenured professors jobs aren’t safe and if they get the reputation of not being a “team player” they’re going to be denied opportunities and eventually pushed out.

    So when they drop standards every student in the class suffers. And if a professor in the hard sciences also does research, their research suffers. If their research is in a field that could potentially benefit the wider world then we are all hurt.

    This kind of corruption is not a victimless crime.

Public anger over this scandal suggests people will actually go to jail.

Strikes me as a pretty crappy reason to lock somebody up in a cage.

    Granny in reply to tom_swift. | March 26, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    So you think they should walk because they are wealthy and privileged? Talk about a two-tier justice system!

      tom_swift in reply to Granny. | March 26, 2019 at 6:39 pm

      And you think someone should be jailed because “the public” is angry?

      Are you, perhaps, a member of a lynch-mob re-enactment society?

    Arminius in reply to tom_swift. | March 26, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    This kind of corruption is never a crappy season to lock someone up in a cage. If admissions officers, other members of the staff, and faculty are selling favors and well-to-do and the super rich are buying them then we need to root it out.

Separate justice for separate groups. Fixing scores and buying influence… yet colleges and universities are fixing scores to prevent qualified students from equal opportunity to apply and in so doing buying influence. Being a dutiful applicant of Asian descent is a tough road against less qualified Hispanics, Blacks and even Whites. That may be why the scandal has no minorities of “color” in it.

I remain unimpressed by this scandal, because parents are merely taking their cues from our lawmakers.

In California, it’s no secret that the UC system fudges the kids’ SAT scores (!) based on skin color (!!), advances Phd candidates based on skin color, subsidizes illegal aliens, and lets illegal aliens practice law.

After all that, why should our lawmakers expect ordinary people to respect them or their cheating rules?

    Arminius in reply to Valerie. | March 26, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    If these are ordinary people to you, then we grew up in way different neighborhoods. We didn’t even have the kids of c-list Hollywood stars or multimillionaire fashion designers at my high school.

People have always gotten into college based on influence. If non-HS grads, illegals, low IQ blacks can get in and skew the process for others why is it wrong for the others to buy their way in?

Subotai Bahadur | March 26, 2019 at 4:37 pm

The thing to note is of all those who deserve prison based on their actual statutory crimes; it will be the ones working at/for the schools who will do time. The Nomenklatura, both academic and celebrity, will get a Smollet and walk with the help of Leftist politicians.

Subotai Bahadur

Mark Riddell, a 2004 Harvard graduate, allegedly secretly took college board exams for students between 2012 and this past February.

This is a very old scam. I first heard of it about forty years ago, and it was probably old hat even then. I’m surprised that the creaky old College Board hasn’t figured out a way to control it. Or perhaps it has, but Mr. Riddell has found a new dodge around it; maybe bribery of the people administering the test. In the good old days all it took was a fake ID.

A college or university is still a business first, respected institution of higher learning second. In the end, Olivia Jade may be a good investment for USC if she responds to the alumnae appeals.

Voice_of_Reason | March 26, 2019 at 9:09 pm

john walker lindh won’t even serve 20 years for betraying his country and fighting for the taliban.