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Former venture capital CEO sentenced in college admissions scam

Original post made on Jul 29, 2020

Manuel Henriquez, the former CEO of a Palo Alto-based venture capital firm, was sentenced Wednesday to six months in prison for paying more than $500,000 to help his daughters get admitted to college in a national admissions scam.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 29, 2020, 3:25 PM

Comments (5)

35 people like this
Posted by collateral damage
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 29, 2020 at 4:49 pm

It wasn't just that they took a spot from a family who played by the rules, worse, the publicity around the cheating has made the college entrance testing accommodations process a NIGHTMARE for many students with legitimate learning disabilities who need accommodations, especially those already failed by school districts. Do you know what it's like for a kid whose dyslexia was only caught late to get accommodations after this story broke, especially with reporters casting aspersion on anyone who had to pay for their own child to get testing?

This guy seems to confuse natural consequences of his actions with contrition. He and the others should have been required to pay into a fund for restitution to families whose kids were harmed by these actions and how the various institutions responded to make things even harder for those who play by the rules. I wish the courts would think about fines more in terms of setting up a fund with an ombudsposition to assess those who have show damages and dole out scholarships, similar to disaster ombudspositions. Or a fund to provide testing for all students regardless of income, so that everyone who needs accommodations receives them.


26 people like this
Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 29, 2020 at 5:15 pm

Just the tip of the iceberg, really. University admissions have become a spoils and patronage system in this country.

Other major countries, like Korean, Japan, and France, have almost purely meritocratic systems, but the US is rapidly removing merit from the equation entirely. The University of California has even suspended use of the SAT.


32 people like this
Posted by Paly Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 29, 2020 at 5:40 pm

College admission cheating has been ongoing since the beginning of time, duh. The wealthy and connected help each other. U.S. News & World Reports' college rankings? 15% of the ranking is based upon endowments. The rankings can be manipulated and it has nothing to do with the quality of the education. Northeastern has been manipulating over the years so their ranking has improved. The elite universities are for the super wealthy and connected; everyone else has to be outstanding to gain entry onto their campuses. Anyone who thinks this world is a meritocracy is naive. I've lived decades in Palo Alto and am completely unimpressed with the Ivy League graduates, especially for such things as City Council and School Board where they have to make common sense decisions. Elite degrees don't result in success in life if the person doesn't have life skills and common sense.

No big deal for Manuel Henriquez, he is loaded financially anyway. He has no true remorse, they just say that for lighter sentences. Embarrassment is his only punishment. What about his daughters' college degrees? Will they be kicked-out of the colleges or degrees rescinded?

The laws should be changed to allow hefty fines depending on their net worth, like $2 million plus so it at least hits them in the pocketbook. Although, lawmakers are crooks who won't do that. Felicity Huffman went to Dublin, CA where they are allowed sunbathing. Her stay was probably similar to lockdown at home like we are all doing.


4 people like this
Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 1, 2020 at 2:07 am

I agree with both of the comments above. Additionally, I can say as a lawyer who worked in-house for companies who did business with this man's venture firm, that to me, from the other side of the table (and obviously without exposing any client confidential info), there were significant ethical gaps with the way that his company was run. I have not had any recent interactions with his firm, thankfully, but I think that the firms that still do business with his firm either may not be fully informed, or may be involved. (My employers were in the former category, and it did not always end well.)

More to the point, having spent the time to research the individuals indicted from Silicon Valley, I have a feeling that more indictments and/or plea bargains may be in the works. After all, the best way to obtain a short sentence is to offer up the maximum number of co-conspirators and the most valuable pointers to future indictments.

It's definitely a cautionary tale for those who seek Silicon Valley short-cuts -- a lesson made even more true in the context of the coronavirus pandemic: there are some things that money cannot buy.

For most of us, that is a good thing.


8 people like this
Posted by Collegekiddaddy
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 5, 2020 at 10:50 pm

Collegekiddaddy is a registered user.

My kid was accepted at every UC, some Ivys and and 94305.
I was perplexed when this kid was rejected by USC.
Aha, Mr. Singer and clients, thanks for using that spot for one of your finest student-athletes.
It all worked out for my kid, but how about the rest that were qualified, wanted to attend USC, but were rejected?


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