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Ex-Casino Exec Gets Longest College Admissions Term: Year in Prison

A former casino executive was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for participating in a conspiracy to secure his daughter’s admission to the University of Southern California as a basketball recruit even though she did not make the varsity team in high school. The sentence for Gamal Abdelaziz, 64, of Las Vegas, was the longest yet in the federal prosecution of parents, coaches and others involved in a college admissions bribery scheme. More than 50 people have been charged in the case, which was orchestrated by William Singer, a Newport Beach, Ca., businessman who has been cooperating with federal investigators. In addition to the prison term, Abdelaziz must serve two years of supervised release, complete 400 hours of community service and pay a $250,000 fine. Other parents convicted in the case have received far shorter sentences, the New York Times reports.

Actress Lori Loughlin was released from federal prison in December 2020 after two-month sentence for conspiring to pass her daughters off as rowers so they could be admitted to U.S.C. Another actress, Felicity Huffman, who admitted paying $15,000 to inflate her daughter’s SAT score, served 11 days in prison. Prosecutors said that, unlike many parents who participated in the scheme, Abdelaziz had been “intimately involved in the lies at every step of his daughter’s fraudulent admission to U.S.C.” He and John Wilson, a private equity financier, were the first defendants to stand trial in the investigation known as Operation Varsity Blues. Others such as Huffman and Loughlin chose to plead guilty rather than take their chances before a jury.

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