Sep 23, 2019

College admissions scandal: Judge moves to cap prison sentences at 6 months

Consultant William Singer. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani ruled this month that prison sentences for parents accused of taking part in the college admissions scandal will not be based on how much money they paid to William Singer, a consultant who led the bribery scheme, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Why it matters: Under the federal guidelines that Talwani will consult, parents can face a sentence ranging from no time in prison to 6 months. The ruling has frustrated federal prosecutors, who tried to convince her that larger payments should draw longer sentences. The judge will sentence 10 more parents this week under these new guidelines.

Details: To salvage the sentences they have proposed, prosecutors are asking Talwani to punish the parents for the severity of their alleged crimes.

  • Under this proposal, parents who tried to forge their children's abilities or disabilities would be found more culpable and receive longer sentences than parents who simply wrote Singer a check.

Context: In what Department of Justice prosecutors are calling the biggest admissions scam in U.S. history, parents allegedly bribed coaches and paid for forged standardized tests in a conspiracy to get their children admitted to elite American colleges.

  • 52 people, including 35 parents, have faced criminal prosecution in the investigation so far.
  • 15 of the 35 parents charged with conspiracy to commit fraud have pleaded guilty.

What's next: Talwani will sentence 2 Los Angeles businessmen this week.

  • She will sentence Devin Sloane, an executive who admitted to paying Singer and an alleged accomplice $250,000 to misrepresent his son as a talented water polo player to enroll him into the University of Southern California, on Tuesday.
  • Stephen Semprevivo, who pleaded guilty to paying Singer $400,000 to help admit his son into Georgetown University as a tennis player, will be sentenced on Thursday.
  • Both Semprevivo and Sloane have asked Talwani for no jail time.

Go deeper: 52nd person charged in college admissions scandal

Go deeper

2nd parent sentenced in college admissions scandal

University of Southern California. Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani on Tuesday sentenced businessman Devin Sloane to 4 months in prison in what federal authorities have called the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Justice Department, according to USA Today.

The big picture: Sloane's sentencing also includes 500 hours of community service over 2 years, a fine of $95,000 and 2 years of supervised probation. He is now the 2nd parent to be sentenced of 35 charged in the scheme, led by consultant William Singer, which involved correcting admissions test scores, falsifying student achievements and disabilities and bribing college coaches and administrators at prominent universities.

Go deeperArrowSep 24, 2019

LA business executive sentenced in college admissions scandal

Stephen Semprevivo. Photo: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani on Thursday sentenced Los Angeles businessman Stephen Semprevivo to 4 months in prison for paying $400,000 to have his son admitted into Georgetown University as a fictitious tennis recruit in the ongoing college admissions scandal, according to USA Today.

The state of play: Semprevivo's sentencing also includes 2 years of supervised release, 500 hours of community service and a fine of $100,000. He is the 3rd parent of 35 charged to receive a sentence in the scheme, led by consultant William Singer.

Go deeperArrowSep 26, 2019

Timeline: The major developments in the college admissions scandal

Michelle Janavs, whose family owns food manufacturing company Chef America, maker of Hot Pockets. Photo:
Boston Globe / Contributor

In what Department of Justice prosecutors have called the biggest admissions scam in U.S. history, parents allegedly bribed coaches and paid for forged standardized tests in a conspiracy to get their children into elite American colleges.

Driving the news: Michelle Janavs, whose family created Hot Pockets, was sentenced on Tuesday to five months in prison for agreeing to pay $300,000 in bribes to get her two daughters into universities.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 25, 2020 - Economy & Business