Parents sentenced to 8 weeks in prison for a university corruption scandal

BOSTON (AP) — A California couple was sentenced to eight weeks in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to paying $25,000 for cheating on their son’s college admissions test.

Dr Gregory Colburn, 63, and Amy Colburn, 52, of Palo Alto, were the 16th and 17th parents to be convicted in the sweeping corruption scandal. The couple abruptly pleaded guilty in January – six weeks before their trial – to money laundering and mail fraud conspiracy charges.

A Boston federal judge accepted their plea deal, which also includes a year of supervised release, 100 hours of community service and $12,500 fines.

Judge Nathaniel Gorton said he was ‘flabbergasted’ that the Colburns and other successful parents would so easily abandon their principles to get their children into college, but acknowledged they had already suffered consequences , including reputational damage and financial instability.

“You and many of your co-defendants have already been punished for your selfish, brazen and downright stupid conduct,” Gorton told the couple. “You both have time to catch up with those you love and society at large.”

In brief statements, both parents said they were sorry and accepted responsibility for their actions.

Federal prosecutors say the Colburns agreed to plead guilty to their role in a scheme to defraud the College Board by paying William “Rick” Singer $25,000 to bribe Igor Dvorskiy, a corrupt test administrator.

Dvorskiy, in turn, arranged for fake test proctor Mark Riddell to fraudulently inflate the SAT exam score taken by the Colburns’ son, the US Attorney’s Office in Boston said.

Singer, Dvorskiy and Riddell all pleaded guilty to federal charges related to their respective roles in the scheme. Riddell was sentenced last week to four months in prison; Dvorskiy is expected to be sentenced in June.

The couple are among nearly 60 wealthy parents, athletic trainers and others charged since March 2019 in the case dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.” The program run by Singer involved rigging test scores and paying athletic trainers to help students get into the nation’s top universities, prosecutors said.


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