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the college admissions process for students whose parents were willing to pay
bribes. While a lot of the media coverage focused on a couple of B-grade
Hollywood “celebrities” caught up in the charges (well, at least I had never
heard of them), the indictment also reached north of the 49th and scooped up
a prominent Vancouver businessman.
The charges are extraordinary. Here are but a few of them:
• A New York businessman is alleged to have paid $50,000 to have
proctors correct his daughter’s answers on an ACT exam and a further
$75,000 to have someone else sit the SAT for her (she received
800 out of 800 on the math portion of the exam).
• An executive director of a Las Vegas hotel is said to have paid
$300,000 to bribe a senior athletic director at USC to designate his
daughter as a USC basketball recruit in order to get her admitted.
• A lawyer and managing partner of a Connecticut law firm (he’s
been placed on leave) is accused of paying $75,000 to have proctors
correct his daughter’s ACT exam.
• A Los Angeles –based actress (who has deleted her Twitter account
and been written out of the show she once starred in) is accused of
paying $500,000 in bribes to have her two daughters designated as
recruits to USC’s rowing team (despite neither one being a rower)
in order to get them admitted to the university.
• A Mill Valley, California–based senior executive at a private equity
firm (who has now been fired for cause) is accused of paying
$50,000 to have his son’s ACT exam scores “controlled”. He is also
accused of having bribed a USC senor athletic director to have his
son admitted to the school as a student athlete.
• A Vancouver businessman and former CFL player is accused of
paying $200,000 to have someone write the SAT for each of his
It should be noted that most (but not all) of the parents charged have
pleaded not guilty and have now hired an array of top legal talent to defend
them.1 It should also be noted that none of the students involved have been
charged and neither have the institutions affected been implicated. In some
cases it may be that the children were not even aware that their test results
had been fabricated by their parents. “Hey, mom and dad! I got in!” “Oh
that’s great honey! We’re so proud of you!”
A read of the affidavit supporting the indictment (it is a mere 204 pages
long) is both engrossing and sobering. The alleged ringleader and master-