Coaches and parents in college scheme find jobs in danger

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Colleges and companies moved swiftly to distance themselves from employees swept up in a nationwide college admissions scheme, many of them coaches accused of taking bribes and others prominent parents accused of angling to get their children into top schools by portraying them as recruited athletes.

That celebrities were among the accused parents — actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman headline the list created much buzz, but other parents charged included people prominent in law, finance, fashion, manufacturing and other fields — people who could afford the steep price.

At least nine athletic coaches and 33 parents were among those charged. Some parents spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, as much as $6.5 million, to guarantee their children’s admission, officials said.

“This story is the proof that there will always be a market for parents who have the resources and are desperate to get their kid one more success,” said Mark Sklarow, CEO of the Independent Educational Consultants Association. “This was shopping for name-brand product and being willing to spend whatever it took.”

Among the parents charged was Gordon Caplan, of Greenwich, Connecticut, co-chairman of the international law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, based in New York. The firm said in a statement Wednesday that Caplan “will have no further firm management responsibilities.”

Telephone messages seeking comment have been left with Caplan, who is accused of paying $75,000 to get a test supervisor to correct the answers on his daughter’s ACT exam after she took it.

“Every student deserves to be considered on their individual merits when applying to college, and it’s disgraceful to see anyone breaking the law to give their children an advantage over others,” U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement. “The department is looking closely at this issue and working to determine if any of our regulations have been violated.”

Hercules Capital, a Palo Alto, California, hedge fund, announced Wednesday it was replacing its leader, Manuel Henriquez, who has been arrested in New York City and released on $500,000 bail. Henriquez will still hold a seat on the board and serve as an adviser, Hercules said.

Henriquez and his wife, Elizabeth, of Atherton, California, were charged with participating in the scheme on four occasions for their two daughters. They were also charged with conspiring to bribe Gordon Ernst, former head tennis coach at Georgetown University, to designate their older daughter as a tennis recruit to facilitate her admission and with making a $400,000 contribution to a charity to help her get admitted to the school.

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