The agreements, which must be presented before a judge no later than April 30, could lead to incarceration and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for the parents, who allegedly bribed college-entrance-exam administrators to allow their children to cheat on the SAT and ACT tests and/or paid university athletic coaches and administrators to designate their kids as star athletic recruits.
The group that plans to enter guilty pleas is made up of 13 parents and one athletics coach, about a quarter of the total 50 people whom have been charged for allegedly conspiring with William "Rick" Singer, 58, of Newport Beach, California, who ran a questionable college-admissions coaching business. Under Singer's direction, a test taker would either fill out college-entrance exams in place of students or correct the students' answers after they had taken the exam. University athletic coaches and administrators created or accepted fake athletic profiles of the students in order to facilitate admission into top universities and colleges.
Singer funneled the bribes through a fake nonprofit organization he founded, the Key Worldwide Foundation, according to federal prosecutors.
The penalties for the parents could be severe. Mail fraud and honest services mail fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Conspiracy to commit money laundering has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the money laundering. Conspiracy to defraud the United States or IRS carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.
The government will ask for incarceration at the low end of the U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors, prosecutors noted in each agreement. The decision is up to the judge.
In addition, all of the defendants would receive 12 months of supervised release; a special assessment of $100; restitution to be determined by the court; and forfeiture of any assets seized during investigation and prosecution.
Under their respective agreements, Klapper would pay a fine or penalty of $20,000; Sartorio would pay a $9,500 fine; Davina Isackson would pay a fine or penalty of $100,000; and Bruce Isackson would pay $150,000.
The Isacksons also have agreed to cooperate with the government and the IRS and to correct any tax returns and pay delinquent taxes and fees. They have signed separate cooperation agreements with the government for any investigations, grand jury inquiries or court proceedings.
Klapper had paid Singer $15,000 to participate in the cheating scheme for her son, according to court documents. Sartorio paid $15,000 to aid his daughter, according to court documents filed last Wednesday.
The Isacksons agreed to pay Singer a total of $600,000 to have both of their daughters listed as recruited college athletes and to obtain false test scores for the younger of the two daughters. The couple also paid less on their federal income taxes by deducting the bribe payments as purported charitable contributions, according to court documents.
Plea and sentencing hearings have not yet been set.
The grand jury indictment released Tuesday accuses Elizabeth Henriquez, 56, and Manuel Henriquez, 56, of Atherton; William McGlashan Jr., 55, a former Palo Alto resident who now lives in Mill Valley; and Marci Palatella, 63, of Hillsborough of conspiring to launder bribes and other payments by funneling them through Singer's purported charity as well as his for-profit corporation, The Key. The parents also allegedly transferred the money into the U.S. from outside of the country to promote the fraud scheme.
Palo Alto residents Dr. Gregory Colburn, 61, and Amy Colburn, 59, were already indicted by a federal grand jury on the same charges on March 26.
The Henriquezes allegedly paid Singer $25,000 in 2015 to have Mark Riddell, another co-conspirator, fly out from Florida to proctor the SAT exam for their older daughter at a private college preparatory school in Belmont. Riddell allegedly provided the daughter with answers to the exam. Singer then paid Riddell $10,000 in three separate installments through his nonprofit.
The Henriquezes also allegedly paid Singer $400,000 to help get their daughter into Georgetown University as a tennis recruit. Singer allegedly directed Elizabeth Henriquez and her daughter to send a letter to tennis coach Gordon Ernst misrepresenting her tennis experience. The daughter also emailed her fraudulent SAT scores to Ernst, according to the complaint.
Singer paid Ernst $950,000 through The Key Worldwide Foundation for the coach to designate the Henriquezes' older daughter and several other students as tennis recruits.
The couple also allegedly hired Singer in 2016 to have Riddell proctor and provide answers for the ACT exam to their younger daughter at a testing facility in Houston, Texas. They allegedly lied to her school guidance counselor, claiming they needed to move the test site because they would be in Houston at that time.
Singer paid his cohorts $70,000 for their roles in facilitating the falsified exam for the Henriquezes' younger daughter and another student. Manuel Henriquez agreed to help Singer secure the admission of an applicant to Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, in lieu of paying for the cheating. The couple also allegedly paid Singer $25,000 in cash for facilitating cheating for their younger daughter in the SAT exam in 2017.
McGlashan allegedly paid Singer $50,000 through the foundation to arrange for Riddell to proctor his son's ACT exam at a West Hollywood test center and to secretly correct the answers without the boy's knowledge, according to the grand jury indictment.
Singer and Riddell used the center frequently in their scheme after getting students transferred there through a fraud in which the parents claimed their children had learning disabilities. They said the children needed more time to take the exams because of purported disabilities rather than being tested along with other students at their regular schools. Singer funneled payments to Riddell and other conspirators through his foundation.
McGlashan also allegedly paid a total of $250,000 to Singer to facilitate his son's admission as a football recruit to the University of Southern California. Singer had a fake football player profile created for the boy and used Photoshop to place the son's head onto the body of a kicker, according to the indictment.
Palatella — a longtime donor to Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton where an athletic field was named after her family — wired $75,000 to Singer's foundation for Riddell to proctor her son's SAT exam and to correct his answers in 2017. Palatella ultimately paid $500,000 to have her son represented as a purported football recruit to USC. She paid $100,000 to Donna Heinel, USC's senior associate athletic director, who allegedly presented the boy's application to the university's subcommittee for athletic admissions and obtained approval to admit him as a recruit.
Palatella agreed during a 2018 phone call with Singer to mislead the IRS if anyone inquired about her payments to the foundation, according to the indictment.
Attorneys for the defendants could not immediately be reached for comment. An arraignment date for the parents has not yet been scheduled.
Two well-known actresses have also been implicated in the admissions scandal. Lori Loughlin, 54, of Los Angeles, and her husband, clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli, 55, were among the 16 indicted on Tuesday on the same charges for allegedly paying Singer $500,000 for facilitating admission for their two daughters into USC as purported crew team recruits.
Felicity Huffman, 56, of Los Angeles, has agreed to plead guilty under the same conditions as the other defendants, in addition to paying a $20,000 fine. She originally paid $15,000 on behalf of her oldest daughter.
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