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When Applying For College Turns Into Felony Charges

OKABE & HAUSHALTER Mar 16, 2019 White Collar Crimes

The FBI recently uncovered a college admissions and testing scandal that resulted in at least 50 arrests of high profile people and college coaches with possibly more arrests to come. Los Angeles white collar crimes attorneys suspect that the 50 arrests may just be the tip of the iceberg as some colleges announce that they will review current students and graduates who may have been linked to this college cheating scandal as well.

The operation

The operator of the admissions scam was charged with racketeering and other crimes for running the illegal operation. His ‘college counseling and prep’ business was a front for a college admissions scandal where parents would pay large sums of money to get their children into preferred colleges. In exchange for parents’ payments that were labeled ‘charitable donations,’ the operator would coordinate deals with test administrators, college coaches, and a college test fixer in order to see that students were accepted into specific colleges.

Cheating on the SAT and ACT

The director of a private college prep school and sports academy in Florida moonlighted as a test fixer for the operator who would pay the director to either take tests for students or change their answers after they took the tests according to prosecutors. Testing administrators were reportedly bribed to look the other way when the director took students’ tests for them. He succeeded in achieving high test scores for high school students who needed these high scores to get into elite schools.

College coaches

The operator’s other college entrance avenue was to bribe college coaches and create fake athletic profiles for students. He would bribe coaches who would tell their college employer that students were athletic recruits, even though some had no prior athletic experience in the college sport. The fake profiles created by the operator were basically sports resumes he put together to prove to schools that these ‘recruits’ were high school athletes.

Parents involved

This scandal was all about money and the parents paying for their children to get into elite schools had a lot of it. A large number of prominent and well-known parents were arrested for their participation in the scandal. It is alleged that these parents knew exactly what they were paying for when they contacted the operator to set up fake testing scores or athletic resumes for their children.

Colleges involved

The colleges allegedly involved in the scandals are elite schools that span the country from the east coast to the west coast. Based on the information that has been reported, although a few college employees allegedly participated in some of the scandals, we have not learned that the schools themselves operated with any knowledge of wrongdoing.

Charges involved

The charges involved in the scandal include racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States, felony conspiracy to commit mail fraud, honest services mail fraud, and obstruction of justice. Los Angeles white collar crimes attorneys know that these types of charges are frightening and so are the consequences of a conviction. If you are under investigation or have been charged with white collar crimes, contact a Los Angeles white collar crimes attorney at Okabe and Haushalter to schedule a consultation. We are ready to help you during this trying time. You can call us at 310-430-7799.