News

Judge sends Atherton mom to prison for college admissions scandal

Elizabeth Henriquez must self-surrender by June 30

An Atherton woman who paid more than $500,000 to help her children get into college through a nationwide admissions scandal was sentenced on Tuesday to seven months in prison, according to prosecutors.

Elizabeth Henriquez, 57, must also serve two years of supervised release, pay a $200,000 fine and perform 300 hours of community service, according to prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts. She has until June 30 to surrender herself to the Bureau of Prisons.

The sentence comes more than a year after the news of the admissions scandal emerged. Henriquez began participating in the scheme in 2015 when she began communicating with William "Rick" Singer, the Newport Beach man who helped dozens of other parents bribe admissions officers and athletic coaches at top colleges and universities into accepting their children in exchange for large sums of money. In many cases, the scandal involved correcting or providing answers to college entrance exams.

In June 2015, Henriquez paid Singer to coordinate with a proctor who corrected her older daughter's answers on SAT II subject tests, according to prosecutors. Then in October of that year, she agreed to have him bring in a third party to correct the answers on a SAT exam for the same daughter.

In 2016 and 2017, the Atherton resident also sought out Singer to help cheat on exams three times — once in Houston, Texas (where their younger daughter was provided answers to the ACT exam), and twice in Los Angeles, prosecutors said.

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Henriquez also paid $400,000 to have Singer orchestrate her daughter's admission to Georgetown University by claiming she was recruited to play tennis, a sport she didn't play competitively, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Under the arrangement, Henriquez's money would be donated to Singer's phony nonprofit, The Key Worldwide Foundation, which would then pass the funds to the tennis program in exchange for the coach's agreement to recruit her based on fake athletic credentials.

Once the daughter was accepted into the university, Singer only gave away some of the $400,000 for the coach's personal expenses, prosecutors said.

Henriquez and her husband, Manuel Henriquez, changed their pleas to guilty last year. They pleaded to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest mail services and wire fraud; and a second count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Manuel Henriquez, former CEO of venture capital and private equity firm Hercules Capital in Palo Alto, is scheduled for a sentencing hearing on April 8. The U.S. Attorney's Office is seeking a sentence of 18 months (or one year and six months) in prison, two years of supervised release, a $150,000 fine and 250 hours of community service.

The sentence issued by U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton starkly contrasts with what prosecutors had recommended for the Atherton woman: 26 months (or two years and two months) in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. (The U.S. Attorney's Office also sought 300 hours of community service.)

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Elizabeth and Manuel Henriquez are among 10 local parents indicted in the case. Menlo Park residents Marjorie Klapper and Peter Jan Sartorio pleaded guilty last May and were sentenced in October.

Hillsborough residents Bruce and Davina Isackson, who have pleaded guilty, are scheduled for sentencing on May 21.

Palo Alto residents Amy and Greg Colburn; Hillsborough resident Marci Palatella; and William McGlashan, a Mill Valley resident formerly of Palo Alto, were named in a superseding indictment in January. They are set to stand trial on Jan. 11, 2021.

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Judge sends Atherton mom to prison for college admissions scandal

Elizabeth Henriquez must self-surrender by June 30

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 4:21 pm

An Atherton woman who paid more than $500,000 to help her children get into college through a nationwide admissions scandal was sentenced on Tuesday to seven months in prison, according to prosecutors.

Elizabeth Henriquez, 57, must also serve two years of supervised release, pay a $200,000 fine and perform 300 hours of community service, according to prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts. She has until June 30 to surrender herself to the Bureau of Prisons.

The sentence comes more than a year after the news of the admissions scandal emerged. Henriquez began participating in the scheme in 2015 when she began communicating with William "Rick" Singer, the Newport Beach man who helped dozens of other parents bribe admissions officers and athletic coaches at top colleges and universities into accepting their children in exchange for large sums of money. In many cases, the scandal involved correcting or providing answers to college entrance exams.

In June 2015, Henriquez paid Singer to coordinate with a proctor who corrected her older daughter's answers on SAT II subject tests, according to prosecutors. Then in October of that year, she agreed to have him bring in a third party to correct the answers on a SAT exam for the same daughter.

In 2016 and 2017, the Atherton resident also sought out Singer to help cheat on exams three times — once in Houston, Texas (where their younger daughter was provided answers to the ACT exam), and twice in Los Angeles, prosecutors said.

Henriquez also paid $400,000 to have Singer orchestrate her daughter's admission to Georgetown University by claiming she was recruited to play tennis, a sport she didn't play competitively, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Under the arrangement, Henriquez's money would be donated to Singer's phony nonprofit, The Key Worldwide Foundation, which would then pass the funds to the tennis program in exchange for the coach's agreement to recruit her based on fake athletic credentials.

Once the daughter was accepted into the university, Singer only gave away some of the $400,000 for the coach's personal expenses, prosecutors said.

Henriquez and her husband, Manuel Henriquez, changed their pleas to guilty last year. They pleaded to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest mail services and wire fraud; and a second count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Manuel Henriquez, former CEO of venture capital and private equity firm Hercules Capital in Palo Alto, is scheduled for a sentencing hearing on April 8. The U.S. Attorney's Office is seeking a sentence of 18 months (or one year and six months) in prison, two years of supervised release, a $150,000 fine and 250 hours of community service.

The sentence issued by U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton starkly contrasts with what prosecutors had recommended for the Atherton woman: 26 months (or two years and two months) in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. (The U.S. Attorney's Office also sought 300 hours of community service.)

Elizabeth and Manuel Henriquez are among 10 local parents indicted in the case. Menlo Park residents Marjorie Klapper and Peter Jan Sartorio pleaded guilty last May and were sentenced in October.

Hillsborough residents Bruce and Davina Isackson, who have pleaded guilty, are scheduled for sentencing on May 21.

Palo Alto residents Amy and Greg Colburn; Hillsborough resident Marci Palatella; and William McGlashan, a Mill Valley resident formerly of Palo Alto, were named in a superseding indictment in January. They are set to stand trial on Jan. 11, 2021.

Comments

fubar
Greenmeadow
on Mar 31, 2020 at 10:04 pm
fubar, Greenmeadow
on Mar 31, 2020 at 10:04 pm
25 people like this

Our system is too likely to jail when other options might work. They hurt the commons by cheating on it to place their daughter in a school, but they could fix that by, say, being made to fund say, 4 scholarships for needy students plus community service. Instead, they'll go to jail, possibly a death sentence in Pandemic times w/o doing the commons much good.


Resident
Palo Alto High School
on Mar 31, 2020 at 11:01 pm
Resident, Palo Alto High School
on Mar 31, 2020 at 11:01 pm
47 people like this

Whatever happened to the family from China that paid 6.5 million to get their daughter into Stanford? Why were no legal proceedings brought against them or their daughter? Is she still allowed to stay in the US?


Life Goes On
Palo Alto High School
on Mar 31, 2020 at 11:28 pm
Life Goes On, Palo Alto High School
on Mar 31, 2020 at 11:28 pm
60 people like this

Thanks for publicizing this. Unfortunately, it'll probably be a cushy prison. Felicity Huffman served 13 days in Dublin, CA: "Inmates can sunbathe on the weekends, but they have to wear a shirt and shorts. They can watch the lobby television until 8:45 p.m. during the week or 11:45 p.m. on weekends" Web Link These people have not learned their lessons, they just regret that they were caught.

[Portion removed.]


Shame on Them
Palo Verde School
on Apr 1, 2020 at 11:32 am
Shame on Them, Palo Verde School
on Apr 1, 2020 at 11:32 am
24 people like this

Shame on the people who did this kind of stuff in order to get their kids into famous universities, by doing that they are taking the spot of other students who worked hard, and had great grades.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2020 at 11:42 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2020 at 11:42 am
35 people like this

Posted by fubar, a resident of Greenmeadow

>> Our system is too likely to jail when other options might work. They hurt the commons

This was one of the most egregious cases out there, with numerous frauds committed over 3-4 years. As with any similar fraud, you can't easily identify who the actual victims were, but, it is likely that there were actual victims.


new guy
Menlo Park
on Apr 1, 2020 at 11:48 am
new guy, Menlo Park
on Apr 1, 2020 at 11:48 am
54 people like this

Hey Fubar:

So, what you recommend is that "get caught = pay a fine". Nice. Woman now wants to serve sentence AT HOME IN HER ATHER TON ESTATE!!!.

What law can I quickly break where I can do this? happy to pay a fine (Her's is like 0.05 percent of net worth) and get to spend the next 6-9 months in an acre plus compound in Atherton with putting green and plenty of space for my kids to play ball, run around.

You know there is a legal way to buy your kids into college, sure it is a bit more expensive, but it is considered legal even at Harvard. Buy a building, provide a huge endowment/scholarship fund, etc.? But no, they spend $500K on clearly not so bright kids for multiple fraudulent tests (why the need for so many???) and a $400,000 tennis placement bribe.

I think she should immediately have to serve her sentence. She is a convicted fellon.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2020 at 11:49 am
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2020 at 11:49 am
2 people like this

Web Link

Bill McGlashan was my teammate on the 7th grade football team at Terman Junior High in 1976. He is #60, I’m #24 in the photo I’ve linked to.
I know at least one guy, the QB of the team, from his high school class (Priory) who stays in contact with him.
Bill had hired, last I heard, a very good former US Attorney to defend against the charges.


Joseph E. Davis
Woodside
on Apr 1, 2020 at 1:01 pm
Joseph E. Davis, Woodside
on Apr 1, 2020 at 1:01 pm
18 people like this

The United States does need some other punishment options. I suggest flogging as in Singapore or being locked in the stocks and pelted with rotten fruit by the public.


Crescent Park Mom
Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2020 at 1:36 pm
Crescent Park Mom, Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2020 at 1:36 pm
30 people like this

Lock the cheaters up!!!!! Make an example of them. Taking a slot from a student that worked like a dog and deserved to be there, is disgusting. The lowest of the low. Any other cheaters out there should get the same. You will be caught!

The Stanford girl left and returned home to China.


rsmithjr
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 1, 2020 at 2:11 pm
rsmithjr, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 1, 2020 at 2:11 pm
30 people like this

@fubar,

I am generally sympathetic for many kinds of defendants with alternative punishments.

This kind of defendant presents a sense of entitlement and superiority. By her actions, she shows that she is entirely willing to spend money to get what she wants. Having her pay fines without jail terms is just another way of acting entitled.

The one thing she doesn't want is the loss of her freedom. Asking to be allowed to spend her sentence at home to avoid the coronavirus is just another way of expressing her superiority.

We are left with the jail penalty.


Jennifer
another community
on Apr 1, 2020 at 3:24 pm
Jennifer, another community
on Apr 1, 2020 at 3:24 pm
18 people like this

I agree she needs to spend time in prison and sit and think about what she's done. Paying a "fine" when you're living in Atherton is absurd. Not only did she take a spot from someone else who deserved to be there, she's hindering her own children. N She's sending a message that cheating is okay, and she's hindering her child once her child enters college. College is rigorous enough (especially at top schools) and your child can't possibly compete academically if you're cheating your way in. Throw in being young (partying, dating, sports, holding down a job, etc.) and you have a recipe for disaster, and a child who drops out of college. Shame on these parents. We all want our kids to succeed, but what the heck was she thinking?


Roger
Evergreen Park
on Apr 1, 2020 at 5:58 pm
Roger, Evergreen Park
on Apr 1, 2020 at 5:58 pm
5 people like this

Life goes on.
Wow you don’t think she should be in a cushy prison while the person who arranged all these transactions get to go scot free because of a plea deal. Those are the people who should be getting locked up.


rsmithjr
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 1, 2020 at 6:16 pm
rsmithjr, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 1, 2020 at 6:16 pm
5 people like this

@roger,

The planner's trial has not been held. My guess is that he will get a larger penalty than any other perpetrator.


AlexDeLarge
Midtown
on Apr 2, 2020 at 12:50 pm
AlexDeLarge, Midtown
on Apr 2, 2020 at 12:50 pm
8 people like this

The guards should beware of a Beef Wellington with a file concealed inside...


mauricio
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 2, 2020 at 4:02 pm
mauricio, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 2, 2020 at 4:02 pm
11 people like this

The poor girl will to settle for Prosecco instead of Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne for her dinner for a few months.


I didn't know that
Menlo Park
on Apr 3, 2020 at 10:58 am
I didn't know that, Menlo Park
on Apr 3, 2020 at 10:58 am
26 people like this

**Fubar**

This individual used her wealth to attain a privilege for her children that they didn't deserve. You cannot let her use her wealth again to attain a privilege that she doesn't deserve ( No jail time ).


RMK66
Mountain View
on Apr 4, 2020 at 1:10 pm
RMK66 , Mountain View
on Apr 4, 2020 at 1:10 pm
16 people like this

To ask for home confinement after spending an egregious amount of money to cheat on the college admissions is disgusting, self entitled behavior! Go to jail!!


Shawn Polk
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 4, 2020 at 5:02 pm
Shawn Polk, Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 4, 2020 at 5:02 pm
5 people like this

I dont dont understand why the sympathy for these people, their really getting off easy. Tanya McDowell was arrested in 2011 after enrolling her then 5-year-old son, Andrew, into the wrong school district.and sentenced to 4yrs.Is that because she was African american and not rich? We need to stop promoting these elitist.


mauricio
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 4, 2020 at 5:58 pm
mauricio, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 4, 2020 at 5:58 pm
6 people like this

If she were African-American or Latina, she would be spending a few years in prison.


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