The first case in the “Operation Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal ended with two wealthy parents convicted of paying their children at prestigious universities.
Former casino executive Jamal Abdulaziz was accused of paying his daughter 300 300,000 to hire a basketball player at the University of Southern California.
John Wilson, a former Staples Inc. executive, was accused of paying his son ڈالر 220,000 to enter the USC as a water polo recruiter and an extra 10 1 million for his twin daughters to go to Harvard and Stanford. ۔
His lawyers argued that the parents believed their money was going to a legitimate donation and insisted they were unaware that admission consultant Rick Singer was using the payments as a bribe or his own. Forging athletic credentials to ensure children’s admission.
Both men were convicted Friday in Boston, Massachusetts, of conspiracy to commit fraud and bribery. Wilson was convicted of additional charges of bribery, wire fraud and filing false tax returns.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:
Thirty-three parents have pleaded guilty, including TV actor Felicity Huffman and Lori Lفflin and Lفflin’s fashion designer husband, Mosomo Giannoli. The parents have so far been sentenced to nine months from probation. All told, about four dozen people have pleaded guilty.
At the heart of the case was a series of secretly recorded phone calls between Singer and his parents, which prosecutors said involved Abdul Aziz and Wilson. Of The FBI Tapped Singer’s calls and then persuaded the administration consultant to begin cooperating with investigators in 2018 in the hope of a lenient sentence. The singer has pleaded guilty to several charges, including money laundering, and is yet to be convicted.
In a call, Wilson asked Singer which game would be “best” for his twin daughters. The singer replied that it didn’t matter and that he would “make them sailors or something” because Wilson lives on Cape Cod.
Wilson laughed and asked: “Is there anything special about the two? What if you have twins?”
In another call, the singer told Abdul Aziz that Donna Hannell, a former senior associate athletic director at USC, told him that Abdul Aziz’s daughter’s fake athletic profile had been so good that she wanted him to Go ahead The player who is a woman. “
“I love it,” Abdul Aziz replied.
The defense tried to make a hole in the government’s case by asking why they did not call Singer to the stand. Abdul Aziz and Wilson’s lawyers presented Singer as a sincere man who manipulated the parents and assured them that their so-called side door scheme was legitimate and supported by the schools.
Abdul Aziz’s lawyer, Brian Kelly, told the judges during his closing argument, “He never agreed with Rick Singer to bribe anyone at USC and he never agreed with Rick Singer to cheat USC. But did not agree. “
The widespread varsity blues case has been running out of Boston since authorities began investigating the scheme years ago, at the behest of an executive targeted in a securities fraud investigation.
Hannell and two coaches – former USC water polo coach Joan Vavich and former Wake Forest University women’s volleyball coach William Ferguson – will go on trial in November. Three other parents are expected to face the judges in January.