Varsity Blues Scandal: Outcomes in the College Admissions Case

Dozens of parents and others have pleaded guilty. Here’s what happened to a few of them.,

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The first two people to stand trial in the college admissions bribery scandal were found guilty on Friday. But the two defendants, Gamal Abdelaziz, a former casino executive, and John Wilson, a private equity investor, both parents, joined a list of dozens of figures who have received judgments through plea agreements in the case that federal investigators call Operation Varsity Blues.

The investigation into the admissions scheme, in which parents funneled millions of dollars through William Singer, a private admissions counselor, to increase their children’s chances of getting into universities like the University of Southern California, Yale, Stanford and Georgetown, has also involved coaches, exam administrators and others.

Of the 57 defendants who have been charged, 47 have pleaded guilty or have agreed to do so since the indictments were announced in March 2019. Some parents are scheduled to go on trial in 2022. Here’s what has happened to some of the notable defendants so far.

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Gamal Abdelaziz arriving at federal court in Boston on Thursday.Credit…Josh Reynolds/Associated Press

Gamal Abdelaziz faces up to 20 years in prison after he was found guilty Friday of conspiracy to commit bribery and fraud, though experts say that under sentencing guidelines, he is more likely to get less than three years. Mr. Abdelaziz was accused of paying $300,000 in 2018 to gain his daughter’s admission into U.S.C. as a basketball recruit. She did not make the high school varsity team.

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John Wilson leaving federal court in Boston with his wife after he was found guilty on Friday.Credit…Josh Reynolds/Associated Press

John Wilson was also convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and fraud, and was found guilty of filing a false tax return for taking a deduction for a bribe. He faces up to 20 years in prison but will likely receive less than five, according to experts. Mr. Wilson was accused of paying $220,000 in 2014 to get his son admitted to U.S.C. as a water polo recruit, despite the fact that he was not good enough to compete at the university, according to prosecutors.

William Singer, the admissions consultant at the heart of the scandal, pleaded guilty to racketeering and other charges in 2019 after having cooperated with federal investigators since September 2018. He has not been sentenced. Mr. Singer faces jail time and fines for various crimes committed in the process of operating what he called a “side door” into universities for his clients.

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Lori Loughlin was sentenced to two months in prison and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, right, was sentenced to five after they pleaded guilty. Credit…Katherine Taylor for The New York Times

Lori Loughlin, the actress known for her role in the sitcom “Full House,” was sentenced to two months in prison and was fined $150,000 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud along with her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, a fashion designer. Mr. Giannulli was sentenced to five months in prison and received a $250,000 fine. Prosecutors said the couple paid $500,000 to have their children admitted to U.S.C. as rowers. Ms. Loughlin’s downfall was swift: She resigned from her country club and was let go from her role on the Hallmark Channel series “When Calls the Heart.” Last month, it was announced that Ms. Loughlin would return to that role on the drama’s spinoff, according to Variety.

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John Vandemoer, a former sailing coach at Stanford, began a new career at a water engineering firm. Credit…Jenna Garrett for The New York Times

John Vandemoer, who coached sailing at Stanford for 11 years, was among the first to take a plea deal on racketeering charges. Prosecutors said he passed checks from Mr. Singer to Stanford development officers adding up to $770,000. Mr. Vandemoer served one day in jail and six months of house arrest. He also lost his job at Stanford and his family’s university-subsidized housing. But he has since found a new career: Mr. Vandemoer, who has a geology degree, recently began a job at a water engineering firm that builds drinking water systems.

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Felicity Huffman, center, with her husband, William H. Macy. She served 11 days at a prison camp.Credit…Scott Eisen for The New York Times

Felicity Huffman, the award-winning actress and a star of “Desperate Housewives,” served 11 days at a minimum-security prison camp outside San Francisco in 2019 for fraud charges after she admitted to paying $15,000 to cheat on her daughter’s SAT exam. Ms. Huffman is set to play the lead in an ABC comedy about minor league baseball, according to news reports.

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Douglas Hodge has received the most severe sentence of any parent involved in the case so far. Credit…Katherine Taylor/Reuters

Douglas Hodge, a former chief executive of the investment management firm Pimco, received the harshest sentence of any parent involved in the case: nine months in prison and a $750,000 fine. Most of the parents charged in the scandal were found to have paid bribes or committed fraud to get one or two children into college. But Mr. Hodge exploited the scam further and over a longer period of time, prosecutors said, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to get at least four of his seven children into top-tier schools, and was trying to do the same with his fifth child.

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