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Wealthy US fathers found guilty of bribing universities for admission

Wealthy US fathers found guilty of bribing universities for admission

Photo credit: Reuters

Washington: A federal jury in Boston on Friday convicted two wealthy fathers for having paid exorbitant sums to buy their children a place at some of America's most prestigious universities. The two had been accused of paying to get their children in as fake athletics recruits. They face up to 20 years in prison although prosecutors fear their influence could mean barely five in reality.

Former casino executive Gamal Aziz, 64, and Wynn Resorts executive John Wilson, 62, were found guilty of fraud and bribery conspiracy charges related to their payment of hundreds of thousands of dollars to secure admissions spots. Aziz paid $300,000 in 2018 to secure his daughter's admission to the University of Southern California (USC) as a basketball recruit. Prosecutors also said Wilson paid $220,000 in 2014 to have his son falsely designated a USC water polo recruit and then another 1 million to get both his daughters into Stanford and Harvard.

The convictions are a part of a long-running investigation dubbed "Operation Varsity Blues" which has so far ensnared at least 60 other wealthy elites accused of using money and privilege to game their way into top universities. Thirty-three parents have pleaded guilty, including TV actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin and Loughlin´s fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli. The parents have so far received punishments ranging from probation to nine months in prison. In total, nearly four dozen people have admitted to charges.

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