In what his attorneys described as an “overriding, but misguided desire” to help his children succeed, the former CEO of a large investment management company in California reportedly paid $850,000 into the so-called “Varsity Blues” scheme to either bribe admissions officials or else present fake athletic profiles for his children – in order to help them get accepted into prestigious universities. The bribes allegedly took place over the course of a decade for the benefit of five of the former CEO’s children.
In addition to making the payments, he also allegedly filed income tax returns reporting them to the Internal Revenue Service as charitable donations – thus receiving deductions for them. He ultimately pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges of money laundering and mail and wire fraud.
Many of the other parents implicated in this scandal spent only a few weeks in prison as a consequence. The former CEO’s attorneys asked for a comparable sentence for their client. Ultimately, the court sentenced him to nine months in prison. Though less than the prosecutors’ recommendation of 24 months, it is still the longest prison term that anyone implicated in the alleged scheme has received thus far. Previously, the longest sentence had been six months.
The criminal complaint alleges that the former CEO paid for falsified profiles exaggerating his son’s athletic achievements in tennis and football. Though he did not end up playing on the team, the University of Southern California accepted him as a football recruit.
Understanding your options
All parents want what is best for their children, and parents of means could overzealously cross a line. If you’re facing criminal charges for this or other white-collar offenses, you may wish to consult an attorney to help reduce your chances of life-altering consequences.