Henriquezes Plead Guilty in College Admissions Scandal

October 21, 2019

Former Georgetown parents Manuel and Elizabeth Henriquez both pled guilty today for their involvement in the college admissions scandal. Their daughter, Isabelle “Izzy” Henriquez, previously a member of the Class of 2020, was dismissed from the university in May. According to the Washington Post, the couple will receive their sentencing in March. 

Mr. Henriquez had initially planned to plead not guilty, but on Oct. 18, he switched his plea to guilty, as reported by a tweet from the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office. Mrs. Henriquez also plead guilty, an announcement made earlier today. 

The couple faced charges of “conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and honest services mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.” The parents were also going to be presented with a charge of bribery, which would have increased their prison sentence. 

The Henriquez family was part of a larger, nationwide scheme. The college admissions scandal, also known as “Operation Varsity Blues,” drew widespread media attention following a report released by the FBI in March 2019. Rick Singer, the ringleader of the scheme, helped families get their children into college through his consulting company, The Key. More than 50 people participated in the scam, including another Georgetown parent, Stephen Semprevivo, who was sentenced to four months in prison in September. 

Joining the Henriquezes, two other parents, Douglas Hodge and Michelle Janavs, plead guilty today. CBS News stated that nine of the 10 parents who have received their sentencing so far will serve prison time. 

The Henriquezes are said to have paid $400,000 toward having their daughter accepted to Georgetown. Their money was used to bribe former Georgetown tennis coach Gordon Ernst and cheating on college entrance exams. According to the FBI, Izzy received “side-by-side” assistance and answers from a Key proctor during her SAT exam. Following the test, the FBI wrote that the proctor “‘gloated’” with Mrs. Henriquez and Izzy “about the fact that they had cheated and gotten away with it.” 

Izzy entered the university as a tennis recruit in 2016, despite the fact that she did not play tennis at a competitive level. The FBI report notes that, “At her best, she appears to have ranked 207th in Northern California in the under-12 girls division, with an overall win/loss record of 2-8.”

Mr. Henriquez was the former chief executive officer of the Palo Alto, California-based Hercules Capital. In addition to assisting his daughter, he also helped grant a student associated with Singer admission to his alma mater, Northeastern University, through his connections. 

Meghan Dubyak, a university spokeswoman, commented on the university’s handling of the college admissions scandal, saying that Georgetown rescinded admission and dismissed the students in May. “While we do not comment on individual cases, each student case was addressed individually and each student was given multiple opportunities to respond and provide information to the University,” she said in an email to the Voice. “Our review focused on whether students knowingly provided false information to the University during the admissions process.”

Rachel Cohen
Rachel Cohen is a contributing editor and a senior in the college. She is a huge fan of the Boston Red Sox, student journalism, and anything from Trader Joe's.

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