Georgetown parent sentenced to home confinement in college admissions scandal

October 10, 2020


On Oct. 5, Georgetown parent and former technology CEO, Peter Dameris, received a sentence of one year of home confinement, a $95,000 fine, and three years of supervised release for his involvement in the infamous college admissions bribery scandal, “Operation Varsity Blues.” 

Dameris pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. The Southern California resident was accused of paying $300,000 in bribes to William “Rick” Singer and Gordon “Gordie” Ernst for his son to be falsely classified as a tennis recruit during the university admissions process. According to CBS News, Dameris’ lawyer initially requested probation, while prosecutors recommended a sentence of 21 months of home confinement and a fine. 

Dameris’ younger son is currently battling leukemia, and Boston Federal Court Judge Richard Stearns claimed to have taken these circumstances into consideration in his sentence. “I really feel for your family, and I understand your anguish,” Stearns said to Dameris during a video call that revealed his decision. “You have lived a good life, and I believe you deserve some reward for that.”

In response to the sentence, Dameris admitted responsibility and regret for his past actions. “I am enormously remorseful for the actions that have brought me before you today,” Dameris said. “My life’s sentence is I am burdened with the memories of what I’ve done that has hurt my family and others.” 

Dameris has said he believed the money sent to Ernst was actually a donation to Georgetown’s athletic programs. Prosecutors agreed, finding no evidence that Dameris intended to make any personal bribes to Ernst. Dameris’ son was able to remain a student and graduate from the university.

The public was first made aware of the ongoing national college admissions crisis in March of 2019. Thirty-eight parents have since been charged with committing fraud to secure their children spots at elite universities, but only 26 have confessed guilt. Dameris joins four Georgetown parents who were already sentenced. 

Singer previously 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.  

Ernst is believed to have organized over a dozen indictable transactions, allegedly totaling $2.7 million. Ernst was recently 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, and federal programs bribery conspiracy, among other charges. These are in addition to the prior 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. 

Sophie Tafazzoli
Sophie is an assistant news editor and a sophomore in the College studying Government and pursuing a minor in Journalism. She is currently living in Los Angeles and loves a good icebreaker.

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