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Palo Alto parents sentenced in college admissions scandal

Original post made on Apr 15, 2022

A Palo Alto mother and father who paid $25,000 to facilitate cheating on their son's SAT exams were each sentenced to eight weeks in prison on Thursday, federal prosecutors said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 15, 2022, 8:04 AM

Comments (11)

Posted by
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 15, 2022 at 9:34 am is a registered user.

How can they deny it?! They were caught. My daughter knows the son and he’s a nice boy; this is so unfortunate but they’ll probably go to a white collar prison, perhaps the one the others went to nearby with sunbathing and activities. Another article said he was applying to U of AZ, not a low admission school.

In psychology class in college, the professor asked us, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t get caught?”

Posted by We Are The People
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 15, 2022 at 10:24 am

We Are The People is a registered user.

This has been going on for decades. Some of Them finally got caught.
Now go and catch the rest of Them. Adjust the System.
I read that the Couple in question have this "remorse". I think not.
I figure they considered while practicing their Acts, that this was absolutely Normal. Simply because They could afford the privilege. And when Others could not. So it was Their "Right".
They consider it was One of those "Wrongs" that was actually a "Right".
If you still have doubt. Put yourself on the other End of what They would have done to you?
I am sure that the 10 Children She caught "Cheating" felt "remorse" also!

Top Minority Athletic Students were not allowed to take full advantage of Their Scholarships,
mainly because parents of children that could not make the Teams were pitching a hissy
fit about the Athletes Grades.
The Children were hounded by the Parents, trying to keep them off the Team, so that maybe their Child would have a chance at the spot that would be left vacant. If & when the disadvantage minority child would fall off because of their Grades.
Whether it be behind Sickness, Living disadvantages, Transportation etc.
Paying a pretend donation, is just another Rich Persons privilege. A "Pay to Play" action
throughout Life. Always meant for Them and NOT Others. "Adjust the System" to include Them.
Have them to pay into a Scholarship for a Underprivileged Student or Students.

They should have gotten 2yrs for Fraud and the Falsification of Records. They would have done 18 months at least. Not this Token 2 months and the rest in Shame and being Shun?
(which also is a privilege).

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2022 at 10:56 am

Bystander is a registered user.

This is probably just scratching the surface of the problem and there are likely many, many more.

My own kids were quite surprised at some of their cohorts who got into top colleges and yet were not the best students. They suspected cheating was going on but had no idea how it was done.

The ones who suffer are the ones who do not get into these colleges as a result of this. They are missing out on what they have been trying to go and actually deserve to go.


Posted by WhatAboutme
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 15, 2022 at 1:02 pm

WhatAboutme is a registered user.

Lori Loughlin was sentenced to two months in prison in August for her role in the college admissions scandal. She reported to a low-security federal facility in Dublin, California, on Friday.
Felicity Huffman, meanwhile, was sentenced to just 14 days in prison in September for her role in the scheme.
Huffman paid $15,000 to the scheme's ringleader, Rick Singer, to have someone cheat on a college-entrance exam for her eldest daughter.
Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, paid Singer $500,000 to guarantee her daughters' admission to the University of Southern California.
This Judge Gorton sounds to me to unfairly giving both of them 2 months in prison -- with their $25k 'donation'. Felicity Huffman paid $15k and received 14 days, Loughlin $500k for two of her daughters, plus SAT --

Why are the Colburn's here given 2 months vs Huffman 14 days?

Felicity Huffman is not helping the community, as the Colburn's, I agree none of this is acceptable nor admirable to do -- and maybe the Colburn's were simply fed up with seeing other children (as referenced in this article) of being unfairly treated at Paly.

I agree this is all horrible, but, I think with the constant socially, (now acceptable), "anti-work", and "eat the rich", contributed to this larger sentence than Huffman and other defendants.

I think they should pay a fine, but no prison time.

Posted by Scotty
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 15, 2022 at 4:01 pm

Scotty is a registered user.

They should also have to watch the Academy Awards for the next ten years as part of their punishment.

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2022 at 5:48 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

They should definitely be sent to prison. Punishing the wealthy financially isn't a real punishment when they can easily pay the fine. Sending normally law-abiding citizens to prison sends a strong message.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2022 at 9:10 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Something is very odd with this. People who are stealing property get off because of who knows what? They don't spend time in jail. People who are lifetime criminals seem to get no jail time at all when they're caught because it is property crime worth less than $900. As soon as these criminals are back on the streets they start stealing again because there is no incentive for them to stop.

I tend to think this couple have had their lives destroyed already by this and the jail time is not going to make their lives any worse than being discovered already has done. I doubt very much that they are going to commit more crime regardless of the jail sentence.

Justice is a very strange animal.

Posted by Optimist Pessimist Realist
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 15, 2022 at 10:53 pm

Optimist Pessimist Realist is a registered user.

The comments here nearly excusing these two criminals are pathetic. The Colburns had other options to help their son but sadly chose a criminal path. I’m glad this article makes it clear the Colburns lost a lot. Too often the focus is on the length of the prison sentence when the reality is serious crimes like this negatively impact all aspects of the criminal’s life. It’s also unfortunate that a charity hospital lost an experienced physician. Clearly many innocent people are also affected by criminal acts like theirs.

All of these criminal parents remind me that community college is a great option for a lot of kids. So is vocational training.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2022 at 8:15 am

Bystander is a registered user.

To the above commenter, I am not supporting the lenient treatment of these parents. They were very much in the wrong and they have lost a lot as a result. The jail sentence although completely justified for their crime is not going to do any more than the life they have lost. Their punishment happened by them losing their status in life, rather than the time they spend in jail. The jail sentence will end, but their life will never be the same again. That is their true punishment.

I just wish that the criminals who are stealing from us, often in our driveways, often brandishing guns, often repeat offenders, often with absolutely no morals or idea of right and wrong, were treated more harshly. The crime in Palo Alto that we read about as press releases from our PD are getting caught but not being adequately punished. That is the annoying part. Why can't real, hardened criminals be put in jail and left there long enough for it to be a real deterrent?

Posted by Optimist Pessimist Realist
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 16, 2022 at 10:41 am

Optimist Pessimist Realist is a registered user.

Bystander, comparing property crimes to federal crimes is apples and oranges. It’s unsurprising that you’re focused on outsiders committing crimes rather than your peers, hence your sympathy toward your peers.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 16, 2022 at 11:59 am

Anonymous is a registered user.

I doubt this practice is that common; this Rick Singer is the mastermind and what about him? (Sentencing soon, we’ll see) He “sang” on many others (far lesser players).
I do think the college applicants 18+ (Therefore, adults) should have also been prosecuted; they skated.
They signed their own college applications, after all, and knowingly posed on rowing machines, hand high scores listed in place of their own, made huge “donations” to universities like Stanford, etc., like the Loughlin daughter who claimed to be a rower (laugh!) - fully deceptive acts.
-Now fully welcomed in Hollywood, nothing to see here, move along (social media “influencers” of great wealth)
How about enforcing honesty on these apps.

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