Two rich dads were found guilty Friday on charges they bribed their kids’ way into ritzy colleges as part of a wide-ranging admissions scandal that shook universities — and Hollywood.
A federal jury came back with guilty verdicts for ex-casino magnate Gamal Abdelaziz and former Staples executive John Wilson in the first case of the college admissions scandal that went to trial.
The “Operation Varsity Blues” scandal led to dozens of parents, including TV stars Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin, getting slapped with charges for paying a college-admissions counselor to get their kids into elite colleges and universities based on faked athletic credentials.
Many have pleaded guilty and reportedly accepted prison sentences up to nine months, but Abdelazis and Wilson’s case is the first to go to full trial, which lasted four weeks. Laughlin served two months in a federal prison and Huffman
Prosecutors said Abdelaziz paid $300,000 to buy his daughter’s way into the University of Southern California. She was supposedly a basketball recruit, though she didn’t play on her high school’s varsity team, The Associated Press reported.
Wilson was accused of ponying up $220,000 to get his son into USC and $1 million for his twin daughters to get into Harvard and Stanford universities, AP said.
A federal jury in Boston convicted the two men on all counts after more than 10 hours of deliberation, according to Reuters. Attorneys for the pair didn’t comment to the news agencies.
The California-based admissions counselor Rick Singer reportedly didn’t testify at the trial, but the parents had said Singer misled them and they funneled the money as donations with no intent to defraud the schools. But prosecutors did use recorded phone calls between Singer and the parents they said showed they were in on it.
Singer reportedly cooperated with investigators in exchange for a lighter sentence. He’s pleaded guilty to several charges related to the scandal.
Abdelaziz and Wilson will be sentenced in February.
With Post wires