A valuable piece of Cape Cod property could be seized as part of a national college admission cheating scandal, according to federal authorities. One of the 50 people who has been accused by federal prosecutors of participating in a national college admission cheating scandal, who now is the University of Rhode Island women’s tennis coach, owns the property on Falmouth in Cape Cod. (Masslive.com)
Based on federal court records, the federal agents on the case are going to seize that property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Federal indictments that have been filed in the huge cheating scandal dubbed Operation Varsity Blues accuse many wealth parents, including CEOs and actresses, of paying large bribes to assist their children to enter elite universities even when they were unqualified. Some of the universities where their children gained questionable admission were USC, UCLA, Yale, Georgetown, Stanford and the University of Texas.
Gordon Earnst, the University of Rhode Island’s tennis coach for women, has been charged with a count of conspiracy to commit racketeering.
The university released a statement this week after the federal indictment was released to the public. It stated that the university was made aware of a federal indictment of the head women’s tennis coach related to alleged cheating incidents that occurred when he was the head coach at Georgetown. The university decided to place Ernst on leave while it is reviewing the situation.
The federal indictment was unsealed in Boston this week. It indicated that Ernst said that his involvement in the cheating scandal occurred when he was the coach at Georgetown University. Federal records show he lived in Chevy Chase MD and Falmouth VA. He worked as the head coach for both the men’s and women’s tennis programs for Georgetown for 10 years.
Court records show that Ernst is the owner of Unit 25 of 25 Gangway in Falmouth MA. Records show it has a value of $530,000. Federal authorities say the property as well as a country club membership in Maryland could be seized in the case. The government is going to obtain a forfeiture of $2.7 million against the tennis coach as well.
Ernst became the women’s tennis coach last August, and he is one of several prominent college coaches that has been indicated in the federal investigation.
According to federal agents, Ernst was the recipient of bribes from 2012 to 2018 while he was the coach at Georgetown University from Rick Singer, the man law enforcement say was the leader of the illegal cheating scam.
Singer was the owner of a college consulting business in California and was paid almost $25 million by parents to provide bribes to coaches and university administrators to make it seem as if their children were athletic recruits, and thus facilitate the admission of those children to the elite universities. The alleged conspiracy took place between 2011 to 2019.
The scheme also involved the fixing of SAT and ACT scores for children of the parents who bribed singer, according to US Attorney Andrew Lelling.
Singer allegedly paid Ernst at least $2.7 million bribes through a charity that was described as a front for the cheating scam. The money was allegedly for consulting fees but were bribes.
In exchange for the bribes, Ernst designated a dozen applicants as potential recruits for the tennis team at Georgetown. Some of did not play tennis on a competitive basis. He thereby illegally facilitated their admission to the university. Singer also allegedly instructed an applicant in August 2015 to email Ernst fake information about the alleged tennis abilities of the student that were take. The applicant had never played competitive tennis.
Ernst forwarded the email to the admission office at Georgetown to confirm his usage of three spaces for the tennis recruitment process, according to federal investigators. These three spaces were all given to children of clients of Singer. Parents of one child sent $400,000 to a charity belonging to Singer. Ernst got checks that totalled $700,000 from the charity from 2015 to 2016, federal records show.
Other well known public faces being charged in the cheating scandal are actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.
Federal Indictments Making Scores of Rich Parents Nervous, TMZ Reports
The 50 people who have been indicted for paying bribes to get their kids into college could be the tip of a huge iceberg, according to TMZ. It is reported to the gossip magazine that scores of nervous and rich parents are called around Los Angeles to learn what is coming down the pike. (TMZ.com)
It has been reported FBI agents are seizing cell phones and other records they think will lead them to other parents that may have paid bribes too. Others that could be caught in the web of deception are college employees, parents and others in college admissions departments who took bribes.
It was reported that several wealthy parents were calling this week asking if Rick Singer kept a list of clients.
Another angle being reported is that USC knew about the scandal for months but did not investigate because it knew the FBI was on the case. They knew if they started doing an investigation at USC on their own, it could tip off targets and witnesses.
It is also reported that USC will decide what to do with students on an individual basis. If it is shown that students knew that bribes got them admitted, they will all be expelled. But if they did not know about the bribes, the university will use its discretion to determine the path forward.
USC officials also are reportedly furious at parents who participated in the bribery, as it is severely tarnished the reputation of the school, students and athletic programs.
- College Bribery Scandal Triggers Nervous Rich Parents at USC. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.tmz.com/2019/03/13/college-bribery-scandal-triggers-nervous-rich-parents-usc/
- Piece of Property on Cape Cod May Be Seized as part of Nationwide College Admission Cheating Scandal. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.masslive.com/news/2019/03/a-piece-of-property-on-cape-cod-could-be-seized-as-part-of-the-nationwide-college-admission-cheating-scandal.html