Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Lawyers make final argument in first college admissions scam trial

6th October (WNN) — Federal prosecutors urged jurors to hear words on FBI recordings in Wednesday’s closing debate as the first case in the nationwide college admissions scandal goes to trial.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Frank used portions of calls secretly recorded by the FBI to pay bribes and fraud to John Wilson, 62, and Jamal Abdelaziz, 64, William “Rick” Singer – the mastermind of the nationwide scheme Facing conspiracy charges. – To bring their children to prestigious universities.

On a 2018 call with Wilson, Singer is heard saying, “I’ll make him a sailor or something where you live,” Singer is heard saying on a 2018 call with Wilson, on which his son in 2014 is accused of paying $220,000 to be admitted to the University of Southern California. He didn’t play for Stanford and Harvard after a water polo recruit and $1 million in 2018 to name his twin daughters as recruits in the sport.

Wilson, who founded real estate investment firm Hyannis Port Capital, can be heard laughing and asking if he can get a “two-for-one special” for the twins.

Abdelaziz, a former executive at Wynn Resorts, reportedly paid Singer $300,000 in 2018 to get his daughter admitted to USC as a basketball recruit, despite not making his high school team.

The singer can be heard saying on a call that the fake profile was so well made up that one of his colleagues wanted him to reuse it “for anyone who isn’t a real basketball player is a woman.” “

Abdelaziz is heard responding, “I love it.”

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Lawyers for the two men described them as busy executives who wanted to help their kids get to college by making legitimate donations, but instead they were duped by Singer, who said they were involved in creating fake athletic profiles and corrupt athletic officials. Their illegal practices like donating to

“John is not a part of Singer’s Con,” said Wilson’s attorney, Michael Kendall. “There is no evidence, not even an indication, that John discovered Singer’s scandal.”

Abdelaziz’s attorney, Brian Kelly, said, “It’s not illegal to do fundraising, it’s not illegal to give money to a school in the hope that your child will get involved.” “So that’s his mindset.”

Assistant US Attorney Leslie Wright insisted that “the case is not about wealthy people donating money to universities in the hope that their children will receive preferential treatment in the admissions process.”

“The defendants have not been charged with crimes for donating money to USC,” she said. “If that’s all they had done, we wouldn’t be here today.”

Frank also dismissed the claim that Singer had explicitly used phrases such as “bribe” and “conspiracy” in his communication with the father to become aware of wrongdoing.

“They don’t use the word ‘bribe’, they don’t use the word ‘fake profile,’ because that’s not how criminals talk,” he said.

The case is the first in a comprehensive investigation into the scandal known as Operation Varsity Blues, as several other parents, including actress Lori Laughlin, opted to plead guilty to their involvement in the scheme.


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