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Ninth Georgetown parent indicted in college admissions bribery scandal

Published September 8, 2020


Lifetime

Georgetown University has once again been cited in the infamous college admissions scandal, “Operation Varsity Blues,” which followed a 2019 FBI report revealing parents paid thousands of dollars to secure their children spots at elite universities.

U.S. federal prosecutors officially charged the 57th individual in the case, Georgetown parent Amin C. Khoury, with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, honest services mail fraud, and bribery. Khoury, son of billionaire Amin J. Khoury, is accused of paying former coach Gordon “Gordie” Ernst $200,000 for his daughter to be falsely designated as a tennis recruit. 

The public was first made aware of the ongoing national college admissions crisis in March of 2019. 

William “Rick” Singer has admitted to acting as the main facilitator in the crimes for over 750 families,  utilizing his organizations, the Key Worldwide Foundation and The Edge College and Career Network, to help students cheat on standardized tests or bribe college athletic recruiters.  

Over a year after its revelation, the scandal remains relevant with the continual discovery of fraudulent cases. According to The Palm Beach Post, Khoury’s attorney claims that the Florida resident did not engage in any kind of test cheating or application manipulation and had no connection with Singer, and therefore, Khoury’s charges differ drastically from previous bribery cases. Although Khoury has chosen to maintain his family’s innocence, a press release from the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston describes the daughter’s abilities as “below that of a typical Georgetown tennis recruit.” 

Ernst is believed to have organized over a dozen indictable transactions, allegedly totaling $2.7 million. Earlier this month, Ernst was charged with three counts of federal programs bribery, three counts of filing false tax returns, aiding and abetting wire and mail fraud, racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud conspiracy, federal programs bribery conspiracy, among other charges. These are in addition to the initial racketeering, federal programs bribery, and money laundering charges. He has not been formally associated with Georgetown University since an internal investigation took place in 2017. 

Khoury, who could potentially be facing 15 years in prison for multiple counts, joins eight other Georgetown parents indicted in Operation Varsity Blues. All the parents, including Manuel and Elizabeth Henriquez, Peter Dameris, Robert Repella, and Stephen Semprevivo, pled guilty for illegally influencing their student’s university acceptance. These parents have been charged both for paying Ernst, as well as conspiring with Singer to fabricate applications.

Sarah Watson contributed to this report.


Sophie Tafazzoli
Sophie is a sophomore in the College, studying Government and pursuing a minor in Journalism. She is currently living in Los Angeles.


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