10th parent in college admissions scandal sentenced to one month in prison

CNN 1 month ago
CNN's Alexandra Field takes a look at the facility where actress Felicity Huffman will spend her 14-day prison sentence for her role in the college admissions scandal.

A father who paid $75,000 to inflate his daughters ACT scores in a massive college admissions scandal was sentenced to one month in prison Friday, according to the US Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts.

Robert Flaxman, a real estate developer and the 10th parent sentenced in the scheme, faced charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. He pleaded guilty in May.

Prosecutors had asked for Flaxman to serve eight months in prison, followed by 12 months of supervised release and a $40,000 fine, saying in a sentencing memo that his "conduct warrants a meaningful term of incarceration."

    Flaxman, they said, had sought out the scheme's alleged mastermind, William "Rick" Singer, after his daughter performed poorly on the ACT.

    Flaxman's attorneys said their client "makes no excuses for his conduct."

    "He knew his actions were illegal when he took them. And he knows that he was no more entitled to break the law to help his daughter than any other parent whose child is at risk," the attorneys said in the sentencing memo.

    "But desperate people do desperate things. He is ashamed that he was weak when most others facing similar situations remain strong; and he is deeply apologetic for putting his own interests over those of other students and parents."

    Two parents change their pleas

    Flaxman's sentencing came hours after two parents who had initially pleaded not guilty agreed to change their pleas.

    Douglas Hodge and Manuel Henriquez have agreed to plead guilty, the US Attorney's Office said. They both have new plea hearings set for Monday.

    Both were among a group of parents who initially pleaded not guilty and were subsequently hit with an additional charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering. More than 30 parents were charged in connection to the scandal.

    Hodge, the former CEO of the Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), one of the largest money managers in the world, was accused of paying $200,000 to ease his daughter's admission to the University of Southern California (USC) as a soccer recruit, and submitting false soccer credentials on her application. He allegedly paid another $325,000 to help his son get admitted to USC as a purported football recruit, prosecutors said.

    Hodge's attorneys have not responded to CNN's request for comment.

    Former federal prosecutor: Lori Loughlin going down 'very dangerous path'

    According to prosecutors, Henriquez and his wife, Elizabeth -- who faces identical charges and has pleaded not guilty -- participated in the cheating scheme on several occasions for their two daughters.

    In August 2015, they bribed the head tennis coach at Georgetown University to designate their older daughter as a tennis recruit to facilitate her admission to Georgetown, the affidavit says. That fall, prosecutors allege the Henriquezes paid $25,000 to arrange for a proctor to correct their older daughter's SAT exam, prosecutors allege.

      The Henriquezes then allegedly made a deal with Singer to arrange their younger daughter's ACT exam at the Houston Test Center in October 2016.

      CNN has reached out to the Henriquezes' attorneys for comment.

      CNN's Melanie Schuman and Eric Levenson contributed to this report.

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