Bay Area Parents Charged in College Scam – where Privilege Becomes Criminal

Do you think it fair that the media focus is only on the Hollywood actors involved in what has turned out to be the biggest College admissions scam fraud ever uncovered in U. S. history?   The only names I heard all day were Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives fame, actress Lori Laughlin and designer husband Mossimo Gianulli.

Of the fifty charged, 3 are Marin residents – here in my hood- include William McGlashan Jr., of Mill Valley, and Todd and Diane Blake, of Ross.

Those in the Bay Area include:
Agustin Huneeus – San Francisco
Diane Blake -San Francisco (Ross)
Todd Blake -San Francisco (Ross)
William (Bill) McGlashan- Mill Valley
Peter Jan Sartorio – Menlo Park
Marjorie Klappe- Menlo Park
Amy Colburn – Palo Alto
Gregory Colburn – Palo Alto
Bruce Isackson – Hillsborough
Davina Isackson -Hillsborough
Marci Palatella – Healdburg
John Vandemoer- head sailing coach at Stanford University

I have already found several of these people on Facebook. They are innocent until such time as they plead or are found to be guilty.

I doubt that the FBI and U.S. Attorney would indulge in these charges unless they had very strong evidence. I am sad for the children of these parents. They will now have to carry the legacy of cheat on their backs for the rest of their lives, regardless of their individual educational outcomes. They are forever tainted by the deeds of their parents. Parents are supposed to model values and yet in these wealthy Bay Area communities we see what has often been constant enabling and covering up for spoiled kids now reflect into criminality. These kids have enough privilege as it is (and white wealth privilege – let’s call it out). It is one thing to use privilege to take a spot from a kid without privilege, and its another to steal that spot with privilege plus fraud.

Somehow I have a feeling this is a tip of the iceberg.

CNN REPORTS:

In what is being called the largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted, wealthy parents, Hollywood actresses, coaches and college prep executives have been accused of carrying out a nationwide fraud to get students into prestigious universities, according to a federal indictment.

The scheme had two major pieces. In the first part, parents allegedly paid a college prep organization to take the test on behalf of students or to correct their answers. Second, the organization allegedly bribed college coaches to help admit the students into college as recruited athletes, regardless of their abilities, prosecutors said.
Federal court documents also allege that some defendants created fake athletic profiles for students to make them appear to be successful athletes.
In all, 50 people were charged in the criminal investigation that went by the name “Operation Varsity Blues.” Those arrested include two SAT/ACT administrators, one exam proctor, nine coaches at elite schools, one college administrator and 33 parents, according to Andrew Lelling, the US attorney for Massachusetts.
FBI Special Agent Joseph Bonavolonta said the parents spent anywhere from $200,000 to $6.5 million to guarantee admissions for their children.
Coaches from Yale, Stanford, the University of Southern California, Wake Forest and Georgetown, among others, are implicated in the case. The extensive case involved arrests in six states across the country.

In one case highlighted by federal prosecutors, the former head women’s soccer coach at Yale University, Rudolph “Rudy” Meredith, 51, was paid $400,000 to accept a student even though the applicant did not play soccer. The parents of that student had paid Singer $1.2 million.

Other elite schools named in the scam were the University of Texas, UCLA and Wake Forest.

Joe Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Field Office, said 300 special agents fanned out across the country early Tuesday and arrested 38 people. He said seven other suspects were working to surrender to authorities and one is being actively pursued.

The full list:

“Today’s arrests should be a warning to others: You can’t pay to play, you can’t cheat to get ahead because you will get caught,” Bonavolonta said.

Others charged in the case are:
John Vandemoer, 41, the head sailing coach at Stanford University
Gordon Ernst, 52, former head coach of men and women’s tennis at Georgetown University
Ali Khoroshahin, 49, the former head coach of women’s soccer at USC
Laura Janke, 36, former assistant coach of women’s soccer at USC
Jorge Salcedo, 46, the former head coach of men’s soccer at UCLA
Michael Center, 54, the had coach of men’s tennis at the University of Texas at Austin
Martin Fox, 62, president of a private tennis academy in Houston
Gamal Abdelaziz, 62, of Las Vegas
Diane Blake, 55, and Todd Blake, 53, of San Francisco
Jane Buckingham, 50, of Beverly Hills
I-Hin “Joey” Chen, 64, of Newport Beach
Amy Colburn, 59, and Gregory Colburn, 61, of Palo Alto, California
Robert Flaxman, 62, of Laguna Beach, California
Elizabeth Henriquez, 56, and Manuel Henriquez, 55, of Atherton, California
Douglas Hodges, 61, of Laguna Beach, California
Agustin Huneeus Jr., 53, of San Francisco
Bruce Isackson, 61, and Davina Isackson, 55, of Hillsborough, California
Michelle Janavs, 48, of Newport Coast, California
Elisabeth Kimmel, 54, of Las Vegas
Marjorie Klapper, 50, of Menlow Park, California
Toby MacFarlane; 56; of Del Mar, California
Devin Sloane, 53, of Los Angeles
John Wilson, 59, of Hyannis Port, Massachusetts
Homayoun Zadeh, 57, of Calabasas, California
Marci Palatella, 63, of Healdburg, California
Peter Jan Sartorio, 53, of Menlo Park, California
Stephen Semprevivo, 53, of Los Angeles.

This whole thing stinks – and I hope the bloke, SINGER, who profited from it all gets the book thrown at him!

Updated re Marin Accused via Marin IJ

Until 2018, Todd Blake was a trustee for nine years at the K-8 Ross School District, according to his Twitter account, where he also posted his excitement over his daughter’s enrollment at USC. Authorities described him an an entrepreneur and investor.

Diane Blake was a retail specialist and co-founder of Winston Retail Solutions who worked in the 1990s as director of retail marketing at Levi Strauss, according to her LinkedIn page.

The Blakes could not be reached for comment.

Court documents allege that in early 2017, Diane Blake emailed Singer saying her daughter was interested in USC but the mother “assumed the school was ‘in the reach stretch category.’” The Key foundation allegedly falsified volleyball records for the girl, saying she had won several volleyball honors and played for a club team that had qualified for the junior nationals.

USC’s senior associate athletic director, Donna Heinel, allegedly used that to present the Blakes’ daughter as a volleyball recruit. The Blakes’ daughter is enrolled at USC but is not on the roster for the women’s volleyball team, according to the indictment. In a February call, Singer told Diane Blake government officials were looking into student athlete records at USC.

“Yikes. Right,” Diane Blake said in reply. She said her daughter did not know her admission was rigged.

POSTED BY MELANIE NATHAN

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